Heavy Hitters: Zynga Jumps 1.5%, Apple and Wells Fargo Struggle
Shares of Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) gained nearly 1 percent higher in late afternoon hours. The parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut reported earnings of 56 cents per share, 2 cents better than the average analyst estimate. David C. Novak, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Second-quarter EPS declined 16 percent, which was generally in line with our expectations. KFC sales and profits in China were significantly impacted by intense media surrounding Avian flu, as well as the residual effect of the December poultry supply incident. The good news is that China sales are recovering as expected. The extensive media surrounding Avian flu in China has subsided and same-store sales at KFC are clearly improving.” Shares of McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) were unchanged on the news.
Despite an overall flat day in the markets, Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares jumped 1.5 percent on Wednesday. In efforts to further cash in on Internet gambling assets, Zynga is pulling the curtains back on its new real-money gambling apps destined for the U.K. The apps are the first to be published under the new strategic partnership with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and could be a door-opening experience for American casino operators interested in launching their own products if Internet gambling gets a nod of approval in the United States.
Shares of Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) increased 0.50 percent in late afternoon hours, after they declined 1.5 percent on Wednesday. Sandler O’Neill downgraded the bank from Buy to Hold. The move comes one day after Susquehanna Financial Group LLP downgraded the bank to Neutral. Wells Fargo reports earnings this Friday.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares edged slightly lower on Wednesday, but found some support in late afternoon hours. A federal judge found the tech giant liable in an e-book price-fixing conspiracy trial. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan ruled that Apple violated antitrust laws when it conspired with publishers to fix prices in the e-book business. Cote noted that some e-book prices increased from $9.99 to as high as $14.99 after the price-fixing conspiracy took effect.
Follow Eric on Twitter (@Mr_Eric_WSCS)