Anheuser-Busch on Thursday slashed its dividend in half and said beer sales fell during the third quarter. Currency volatility is a challenge for the brewing giant, which bought U.K.-based SABMiller in 2016. “In the last six months, we’ve seen a lot of [currency] volatility,” Chief Financial Officer Felipe Dutra told reporters on a conference call Thursday, as reported by Reuters. “This scenario triggers some sort of uncertainty and at a certain point … we thought it was the right time to adjust the dividend.”
PPG, an industrial bellwether, said currency turned into a headwind the third quarter as the dollar strengthened. Currency translation lowered sales $80 million and pretax income took a hit of $15 million. It also said sales could be cut $50 million to $60 million in the fourth quarter because of the “unfavorable impact” of currency translation.
Illinois Took Works said year-over-year earnings growth of 11 percent, to $1.90 per share, was on the high end of its range but included 3 cents a share of “unfavorable currency translation impact.”
Companies have had to adjust to account for the stronger dollar. “We’ve taken some other actions around the emerging markets and initiatives to ensure that we can overcome that,” UPS CFO Richard Peretz said on a call with analysts. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve called out the guidance for the total company to remain where we expect it to be even given this new headwind.”
Currency isn’t the only extra cost companies are facing. On Thursday, Southwest Airlines reported record third-quarter profit that beat expectations, then burst the bubble by saying its costs were going up more than expected, largely because of fuel. American Airlines said a 42 percent increase in fuel costs ate into its third-quarter profit despite record revenue.
Estimates for next year reflect optimistic company guidance on sales and their ability to pass some of the higher costs on to customers, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note last week. But tech is more vulnerable to profit-margin pressure, they said, as are consumer discretionary and transportation stocks.
Texas Instruments, like other semiconductor companies, is also seeing weakness ahead. While it beat profit expectations, it issued a weaker fourth-quarter outlook blaming slower demand. “We are heading into a softer market,” CFO Rafael Lizardi said on a conference call this week. “We believe this is mostly driven by a slowdown in semiconductors.” That slowdown, executives said, comes after several years of strong growth.