Facebook: Mobile strategy gains traction
Facebook (FB) shares soared after the company reported third-quarter sales that topped analysts’ estimates, allaying concerns over the site’s mobile strategy. Mobile ads generated about $150 million during the quarter, equal to 14 percent of all ad revenue. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has invested in advertising tools designed to help businesses grab the attention of consumers, who are easily distracted while socializing on smartphones and tablets. About 60 percent of the company’s more than 1 billion members access the service via mobile devices. Even so, Facebook is likely to rank only sixth in U.S. mobile advertising for 2012.
Delta: Hauling more cargo
Delta Air Lines (DAL) is bucking a cargo industry slump by packing more auto parts, mail, and salmon into the bellies of its passenger jets. The No. 2 U.S. carrier has more flexibility to focus on cargo—a business where the profit margin can top 50 percent—than United Continental (UAL), which is working out its merger kinks, or American Airlines (AAMRQ), which is in bankruptcy. Delta has doubled the amount of mail it carries for the U.S. Postal Service. The cargo operation had sales of $992 million in the first nine months, an almost 29 percent increase over 2011.
Home Improvement: Buoyed by the housing recovery
The share prices of Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW) have been outperforming the stock market thanks to signs that the U.S. housing market may be truly rebounding. An index that tracks the two home-improvement retailers is up about 10 percent over the past two months, while the S&P 500 is flat. Sales of new homes climbed 5.7 percent in September, the fastest clip in two years, while investment in new and existing homes rose 11 percent in the second quarter—the strongest pace of growth since 2005.
Manganese Bronze: Dead end for a cab maker?
The maker of London’s iconic black taxis is seeking protection from creditors while it restructures after failing to secure money to continue operations. Manganese Bronze Holdings (MNGS:LN), which has 300 employees at its plant in England, has been trying to bring down costs and combat engineering problems. Trading in the company’s shares was suspended on Oct. 12 when it recalled some taxis over a faulty steering box. The company expects sales abroad to top those at home in 2012—a first since it began building taxis in 1948.
Bank of America: Feds stand up for Fannie and Freddie
Federal prosecutors are suing Bank of America (BAC) for $1 billion, accusing it of selling bad loans to government-sponsored mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC). According to the civil complaint, between 2007 to 2009, Countrywide Financial and its parent, BofA, used “the Hustle,” a loan-origination process designed to quickly process and sell mortgages, resulting in huge losses for Fannie and Freddie. BofA, which bought Countrywide in 2008, says it has “acted responsibly to resolve legacy mortgage matters.”