Business Briefs – November 2, 2016

Fed Leaves Key Rate Unchanged But Hints At Upcoming Hike

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged Wednesday, six days before Americans choose a new president, but hinted again that it would likely raise rates soon.

The Fed said that the case for a rate hike has “continued to strengthen” but that it had decided to await more evidence of progress toward its objectives. Most Fed watchers expect a rate increase at the central bank’s next meeting in mid-December.

Facebook Beats Street 3Q Forecasts

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) – Facebook Inc. on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings of $2.37 billion.

The social media company said it had profit of 82 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to $1.09 per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 97 cents per share.

The social media company posted revenue of $7.01 billion in the period, also surpassing market forecasts.

Anthem Misses 3q Street Profit Forecast, Medical Costs Rise

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Anthem’s third-quarter earnings slid nearly 6 percent and missed Wall Street expectations, as rising medical costs countered revenue growth and some cost cutting for the nation’s second-largest health insurer.

The Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer also updated on Wednesday a 2016 forecast that falls short of analyst forecasts.

Overall, the insurer earned $617.8 million in the quarter, down from $654.8 million last year. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, totaled $2.45 per share in this year’s quarter.

Alibaba Posts Strong Results as Shopping, Cloud Units Grow

HONG KONG (AP) – Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba reported better-than-expected third-quarter results, as revenue soared at its shopping sites, cloud computing unit and its video streaming services.

The company reported net income of $1.14 billion, or 45 cents per share, the quarter that ended Sept. 30. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and stock option expense, came to 79 cents per share, beating the 70 cents per share that analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Whole Foods to Drop 1 of 2 co-CEOs as Sales Fall Again

NEW YORK (AP) – Whole Foods, which has been run by two CEOs for six years, says it is dropping one of them.

Co-founder John Mackey will become the sole CEO at the end of the year. The other co-CEO, Walter Robb, will remain on the company’s board and be a senior adviser to the company.

The grocer also said sales fell 2.6 percent at established stores in the fourth quarter, worse than the 2 percent drop analysts expected, according to FactSet.