Beyond Meat, the food company behind the meatless Beyond Burger, is set to debut on the public market this week. CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday the stock is worth buying — at or below $35 per share.

The plant-based meat maker priced its shares at $25, at the top end of its stated range of $23 to $25. The stock could surge to $30 once it starts trading, and investors should be cautious if it climbs above $35, he said.

“I think this is exactly the kind of growth story that the stock market tends to adore — in a year that’s already been chock-full of IPOs, Beyond Meat is the fastest grower among them,” the “Mad Money” host said. “I doubt it will be another Lyft, where the revenue growth was already decelerating by the time the company came public. “

The company reported a net loss of $29.9 million on revenue of $87.9 million for 2018.

Since its founding in 2009, Beyond Meat has become one of the fastest-growing food producers in the country on the back of a “brilliant concept,” Cramer said. The company’s sales just about tripled year-over-year in the first quarter, which followed 170% growth in 2018 and 101% in 2017, he noted. Revenue grew 200% in the first quarter from the year-ago period, powered by new deals with Carl’s Jr., TGI Friday’s, and A&W Canada chains, he added.

Beyond Meat has yet to turn a profit and likely will not have positive earnings in the near future, Cramer said. But gross margin tells a more promising story. The company posted 20% gross margin in 2018, up from a negative margin in 2017. For the first quarter of 2019, gross margin came in at 25.6%.

“Honestly, I really don’t want Beyond Meat to be profitable at this early stage in their life cycle. They should be spending money like crazy to build out their production and distribution and innovation to fend off enemies,” Cramer said. “However, because the company’s sales keep growing, their margins are headed in the right direction.”

On top of that, the balance sheet is “solid,” he added. The IPO raised roughly $240 million.

Competition could be a headwind for Beyond Meat. Burger King, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, carries Impossible Food’s vegetarian Impossible Burger, which is said to be a better-tasting beef alternative than the Beyond Burger, Cramer said. Reports suggest Burger King is selling out of the vegetarian selection, but there is more than enough room for two players in the plant-based food industry, he said.

Beyond Meat products are carried in 17,000 grocery stores — including Amazon‘s Whole Foods, Target and Kroger — and 12,000 eateries, Cramer said. The company has also launched pork sausage substitutes and is working on a chicken alternative.

“At the midpoint of its current price range, Beyond Meat’s going to be very expensive — it’s already trading at 17-times last year’s sales. Not earnings, sales,” he said. “Of course, [if] they can keep growing at a 200% clip this year, then the stock is trading at less than 6-times 2019 sales [estimates]. So I can get that.”

WATCH: Cramer reviews the Beyond Meat IPO

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Amazon.

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Kohl’s Corp.: “Kohl’s is run by the fabulous [CEO] Michelle Goss, who is doing a great job. Heavily shorted stock, that makes no sense. I know the quarter’s not gonna be that great, but I say [buy].”

Exxon Mobil: “You’re not going to get hurt with a 4% yield buying Exxon at these prices, but it’s no longer my favorite. By the way, I think [CEO] Mike Wirth’s doing a dynamite job at Chevron, although my friend [CNBC’s] David Faber made me feel like: ‘wow, maybe they’re going to come and bid for Anadarko after [Occidental], but I do prefer Chevron to Exxon. “

Delta Air Lines Inc.: “It’s a very cheap stock at 8-times earnings. I’m not gonna tell you to ring the register. I’m gonna tell you that it’s cheap.”

Allergan plc: “I’m actually gonna tell you that you need to be concerned … My problem is we need to see some earnings momentum. We need to see that drug against migraines approved, and I don’t know if it’s going to get approved soon enough to be able to help what I think is a business that I’m concerned about.”

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc.: “I looked at Arrowhead recently and I didn’t see that much. You know, everyone’s so excited about it. I don’t get that. I have been saying that it’s absolutely O.K. to own stocks that have to do with slicing and dicing and genes, but I’m not gonna endorse it for anything other than speculation.”

Wayfair Inc.: “You know, it’s unbelievable. I remember when Bed Bath & Beyond could have bought Wayfair. Wayfair is a real competitor, and I have to tell you: the shorts who have been going against Wayfair forever have been dead wrong. I think Wayfair represents a great bargain — the products. The stock’s not a bargain, it’s very expensive. But I’m not gonna go against it.”

Varonis Systems Inc.: “I’m recommending pretty much every cybersecurity stock, ’cause it’s a great secular theme. But my favorite is Palo Alto Networks. PANW.”

WATCH: Cramer’s lightning round

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Palo Alto Networks, Kohl’s, and Anadarko.

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Apple rallied nearly 5% on Wednesday, but CNBC’s Jim Cramer said there could soon be even more upside.

“That’s why I always say own it, don’t trade it,” the “Mad Money” host said. “With this quarter, we got yet another reason to stick with Apple, and even after today’s terrific run, I think it will turn out to be a real bargain because of its embrace of the subscription economy.”

Apple reported that iPhone sales, historically its largest source of revenue, plunged 17% year over year. It said that trend could continue, but that didn’t stop the stock’s Wednesday rally. Shares of the iPhone maker gained $9.85 during the session, closing above $210.

Cramer said the company is going through a “paradigm shift” from being a device manufacturer to a big-league service provider.

In its second-quarter report, Apple revealed an installed base of 1.4 billion devices. It yielded 390 million paid subscribers, which could reach 500 million in the near future and translate into $11.5 billion in high-margin sales, he highlighted.

“The stock caught fire today because it’s become impossible to deny the power of that metamorphosis,” Cramer said. “When I say this is a paradigm shift, what I mean is that, within two years, this subscriber base will profoundly define the way we judge the stock of Apple. We’re already well on our way to a world where the key metric is subs, not iPhone sales.”

Initially, most analysts that cover Apple were unsure about the tech giant rebranding itself as a service company, he recalled. The analysts were so focused on the iPhone that they did not care about Apple’s other fast-growing wearable products, he continued.

Over the years, its services revenue kept growing and leadership decided to embrace the segment. In January, Apple preannounced some bad news to get ahead of the curve and revealed that they would stop disclosing the amount of units it sells each quarter, which many saw as a terrible move, Cramer said.

“In the future, it’s gonna be seen as a subscription company with a terrific razor/razorblade business model: the phones are the razor, the services are the blade where they really make their money,” he said. “Before Apple started breaking out its service revenues, the stock tended to sell for about 11-times earnings. Now it sells for 16-times earnings because it’s got a better mix of businesses, both hardware and services.”

The paradigm shift is still unfolding, and investors are still trying to wrap their minds around it, Carmer said.

Watch the full segment here


Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange.

Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

The major U.S. indices all declined during the session as investors start to worry if the stock market has been too strong for its own good, Cramer said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed about 163 points, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.75% and 0.57%, respectively.

“We’ve had a terrific run, so I am blessing you to do some selling tomorrow,” the host said. “But other than that, I think we’re in fine shape. Somewhat overheated, most definitely, but I still think it makes sense to stay the course.”

The Dow Jones had the best four-month rally to start the year it’s seen since 1987. The Nasdaq had its best showing in the same period since its big rally in 1999. No one wants 2019 to look like those two years, Cramer said.

What should your next move be? Read more here

Juicy opportunity?

A package of Beyond Meat beef crumbles is displayed for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, April 23, 2019.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Beyond Meat, the food company behind the meatless Beyond Burger, is set to debut on the public market this week. Carmer said the stock is worth buying — at or below $35 per share.

The plant-based meat maker priced its shares at $25, up from the its original $19 to $21 offering. The stock could surge to $30 once it starts trading, and investors should be cautious if it climbs above $35, he said.

“I think this is exactly the kind of growth story that the stock market tends to adore — in a year that’s already been chock-full of IPOs, Beyond Meat is the fastest grower among them,” Cramer said. “I doubt it will be another Lyft, where the revenue growth was already decelerating by the time the company came public. “

The company reported a net loss of $29.9 million on revenue of $87.9 million for 2018.

Get to know the IPO here

Never-ending learning

Dan Rosensweig, CEO, Chegg

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

When Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig first appeared on “Mad Money” in early 2016, the stock was trading at its all-time lows under $4.

Fast forward three years later: the stock has matriculated to Wednesday’s $34.74 close.

“The transformation started on this show,” Rosensweig told Cramer.

Now the textbook and education platform is fueling the public’s everlasting needs to keep learning, according to the chief. More people need to learn, they will need to learn more things more often, and they will have to keep learning for their future and careers, he said.

“We believe in believing in the inevitable,” Rosensweig said. “And the answer is we believe in all of that.”

Catch the full interview here

Cramer’s lighting round: The quarter won’t be good, but buy this stock

In Cramer’s lightning round, the “Mad Money” host zips through his thoughts about callers’ favorite stock picks of the day.

Kohl’s Corp.: “Kohl’s is run by the fabulous [CEO] Michelle Goss, who is doing a great job. Heavily shorted stock, that makes no sense. I know the quarter’s not gonna be that great, but I say [buy].”

Exxon Mobil: “You’re not going to get hurt with a 4% yield buying Exxon at these prices, but it’s no longer my favorite. By the way, I think [CEO] Mike Wirth’s doing a dynamite job at Chevron, although my friend [CNBC’s] David Faber made me feel like: ‘wow, maybe they’re going to come and bid for Anadarko after [Occidental], but I do prefer Chevron to Exxon. “

Delta Air Lines Inc.: “It’s a very cheap stock at 8-times earnings. I’m not gonna tell you to ring the register. I’m gonna tell you that it’s cheap.”

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Apple, Kohl’s, and Anadarko.

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U.S. stocks rose modestly Wednesday morning as investors weighed another round of corporate earnings, with Apple Inc.’s better-than-expected results helping put the S&P 500 on track for a fourth straight record close.

Investors are also awaiting the outcome of a Federal Open Market Committee meeting and news conference with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

How are major indexes performing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, +0.17%

 rose 41 points, or 0.2%, to 26,634, while the S&P 500 index

SPX, +0.09%

climbed 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,950, surpassing its previous intraday record high of 2,949.52. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index 

COMP, +0.36%

saw a 36-point rise, a gain of 0.7%, to 8,132.

On Tuesday, the Dow gained around 0.2% to 26,592.91, while the S&P 500 index gained 2.8 points, or 0.1%, or to close at 2,945.83, well of its Tuesday low at 2,924.21. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 54.09 points, or 0.7%, to finish at 8,107.77, but off a low at 8,050.55.

The S&P 500 edged further into record territory with Tuesday’s action, the Nasdaq pulled back from a record finish on Monday, while the Dow began the day 0.9% away from its record closing high, set on Oct. 3.

What’s driving the market?

Dow component Apple

AAPL, +6.09%

was getting attention after the iPhone maker reported another fall in profit and revenue, but beat expectations for first-quarter performance. Moreover, Apple signaled that the worst is over for its China business, and did report momentum in its services businesses, which stock bulls see as key to the company’s growth. Shares were up 5% Wednesday morning.

First Take: Apple is optimistic, and it isn’t because of the iPhone

On the economic front, the Fed will announce the results of its monetary policy meeting at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, followed by a press conference with Chairman Powell at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

Over the past six weeks, Fed officials have emphasized a need for patience, signaling they want to leave rates on hold until they are certain about the economic outlook. Many economists expect the Fed to remain on hold for some time, possibly through the end of 2020, while market participants have wagered on the potential for a rate cut.

Read: Powell faces tough test Wednesday as market is uneasy with his recent communication

The Fed is fully expected to remain on hold Wednesday, but Powell’s remarks will be closely watched for clues to policy makers’ thinking.

See: The case for the Fed to keep an interest-rate hike on the table revolves around financial stability

Also read: The Fed could lower an interest-rate target today. Don’t get too excited

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Tuesday in an apparent effort to jawbone the Fed into easing policy, calling on the central bank to cut rates and reinstitute quantitative easing.

Barron’s: Trump wants the Fed to cut interest rates by a full point. He should be happy it’s on hold

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of CVS Health Corp.

CVS, +5.28%

rallied 3.7% after the pharmacy and health-care services giant reported first-quarter earnings and sales that beat Wall Street expectations, while raising its outlook for the full-year 2019.

Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.

EL, +1.57%

shares surged 2.5%, after the makeup manufacturer reported first-quarter sales that beat analyst expectations, while predicting revenue would grow between 7% and 8% during the full-year 2019.

Molson Coors Brewing Co.

TAP, -6.68%

fell 4.3%, after the company reported first-quarter earnings that fell short of forecasts.

Shares of Humana Inc.

HUM, -1.88%

retreated 3.7%, even after the insurer reported first-quarter earnings and revenue Wednesday morning that topped Wall Street expectations, while also raising its full-year guidance.

Yum! Brands Inc.

YUM, -3.29%

stock fell 1.9% Wednesday morning, after the Taco Bell parent reported first-quarter results.

Chip group Qualcomm Inc.

QCOM, +1.94%

social-gamer Zynga Inc.

ZNGA, -0.80%

wearables maker FitBit Inc.

FIT, +0.19%

 and mobile payment group Square Inc.

SQ, +1.59%

 will report after the close.

Read: Qualcomm short sellers are out in full force ahead of earnings

Check out: Qualcomm earnings, schmernings: Tell us more about the Apple settlement

What are analysts saying?

“Global stock markets are edging higher ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate decision. Despite President Trump’s calls for interest rate cuts, Fed chair Jerome Powell is widely expected to keep interest rates on hold,” said Mihir Kapadia, chief executive and founder of Sun Global Investments, in emailed comments. “With the global economy still a source of uncertainty for investors, many will be reassured by this more dovish sentiment.”

What else is on the economic calendar?

Payroll firm ADP released its estimate of private-sector job growth in April, showing the U.S. economy added 275,000 new jobs, well above the 176,000 consensus estimate, according to FactSet. However, Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics chief economist and architect of the ADP report said that the figure “overstates the case” of job growth and predicted that Friday’s official government job report will show less robust employment growth.

Markit’s manufacturing purchasing managers index for April came in at 52.6, a slight uptick from the near two-year low seen last month, and above consensus expectations for a reading of 52.4, according to FactSet.

The more closely watched Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index came in at 52.8%, well below consensus expectations of 54.7%, according to a MarketWatch poll of economists, and below the March reading of 55.3%.

The Commerce Department said construction spending fell by 0.9% in March, compared with February, below economists expectations of a 0.4% decline, per a MarketWatch survey.

How are other markets faring?

Most stock markets in Asia were closed for holidays, though Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

XJO, +0.80%

closed up 0.8%, while New Zealand’s NZK-50

NZ50GR, -0.47%

fell 0.5%. European stock markets were also largely closed for May Day celebrations, while The U.K’s FTSE 100

UKX, -0.34%

was edging lower.

The price of crude oil

CLM9, -0.91%

was on the decline Wednesday, along with gold prices

GCM9, -0.01%

The U.S. dollar

DXY, -0.21%

was also retreating, relative to its peers.

William Watts contributed to this report.

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U.S. equity indexes are on track to register their best start to a year in decades and the sharpest April gains in about 10 years. The solid returns thus far in the fourth month of 2019, however, may raise questions about how gains will shape up in the coming period, as Wall Street focuses on a popular seasonal investing adage.

“Sell in May and go away,” — a widely followed axiom, based on the average historical underperformance of stock markets in the six months starting from May to the end of October, compared against returns in the November-to-April stretch — on average has held true, but it’s had a spotty record over the past several years.

Average May-October November-April
5 year 4.31 5.53
10 year 3.86 8.67
20 year 0.55 4.89
50 year 0.31 7.56
All-time 2.08 5.13

Read: The ‘easy 10%’ has already been made — now get ready for February (gulp)

For one, stocks over the six-month span ending in October have posted comparatively weaker returns in only three of the past five years, with 2017 showing a more than 8% gain, compared with only a 2.8% gain from November of 2017 to end of April of 2018, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Presently, the period from the end of last October through Tuesday, the last day of April, produced a return of roughly 8.6%, according to FactSet data.

Sophie Huynh, strategist at Société Générale, told MarketWatch that unloading stocks over the coming six months could prove costly for investors.

“It’s not going to work this year,” Huynh said of the sell-in-May strategy.

The SocGen strategist bases her expectations partly on the belief that much of the bad news, including downgrades to earnings, that would ordinarily weigh on markets from May to the end of October have already been factored by investors.

“As I said, the reason why it won’t work is really because EPS [earnings-per-share] growth expectations have been massively revised down. So 2019 EPS growth went from 10% in September 2018, to 3.2% currently, in tandem with the U.S. economic surprise indicator,” she explained.

The Citi Economic Surprise Index for the U.S. hit negative 57.1 recently. A positive reading suggests data are better than expected, while zero indicates data meet expectations, and a negative reading reflects worse-than-expected readings. The index tends to swing back and forth as expectations rise and fall with data trends (see chart below, showing Citi’s economic surprise indicator and S&P 500 P/Es or price to earnings).

Still, Huynh said, “we are at this point in the camp of U.S. earnings growth bottoming out, as we think it is too early for an earnings recession cycle.”

She said there is also potential for upward momentum from catalysts like China, which has unfurled a raft of stimulus measures to ease its economic slowdown.

“A lot of bad news is already reflected in expectations, while China’s ongoing monetary and fiscal support and central banks’ ‘Great Retreat’ should put a floor under risky assets for now,” Huynh said, underscoring points she made in a Tuesday research note titled, “Why ‘Sell in May and go away’ won’t work this year.”

The strategist sees the S&P 500

SPX, +0.08%

hitting around 3,000 in the near term, which would represent a roughly 2.5% gain from its level Tuesday.

LPL Research’s Ryan Detrick, said that while it is true that the historically weakest six-month stretch starts in May, investors have enjoyed solid gains in six of the past seven years.

In other words, is it worth selling in May when the tendency has been to extend gains, albeit at a slower clip? “Yes, ‘sell in May’ has a nice longer-term record,” Detrick wrote in a note on Monday, “but that doesn’t make it gospel.” (See chart below for historical performance of six-month periods for stocks by month):

For even bullish investors, however, it may be hard to imagine stocks ringing up further gains, even modest ones, after the current pace of returns and in the so-called late-stage economic cycle under way.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, +0.16%

is on pace for its best start to the a calendar year, representing the first four months thus far, since 1999, up 13.7%. The Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, +0.36%

 is on track for its best start since 1991, up nearly 22% over the same period, while the S&P 500 is on track for its best start to a year since 1987, a gain of 17.1%, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq returned to record territory in April as stocks continued a sharp bounceback from a late-2018 selloff.

Mark Haefele, the global chief investment officer at UBS, said that those gains don’t portend a weakening trend.

“Record highs tend to be supportive of, rather than detrimental to, near-term returns. Using S&P 500 price data since 1950, after stocks set an all-time high, their subsequent six-month price return has been 4.7%,” Haefele said in a Monday note.

The data also show that large pullbacks have been less likely after markets have put in records: “The market has just 11% of the time declined by more than 5% over the six months following an all-time high, compared with 18% of the time otherwise.”

But there may be an even more compelling reason to avoid the seasonal shift out of equities at the start of May: trading costs.

Although it is increasingly cheaper to rotate out of assets employing low-fee exchange-traded funds, the taxes and trading fees associated with rotating out of equities and, say, buying bonds, is unlikely to provide a significant investment benefit, according to Simon Moore, chief investment officer at Moola, in a recent Forbes article. He said, “taxes may be a legitimate impediment. This is because gains on the strategy in a taxable account would likely be short-term…”

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This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.

Parents are often more than happy to offer financial advice to their kids. They like to feel needed and want to make sure you’re on solid financial ground. But it’s important to turn the tables and ask about their financial plans, too.

Are they saving for retirement? Have they updated their will? What’s their plan for long-term care, should they need it?

It doesn’t matter if you’re living on ramen or running your own business, asking your parents about their financial future can feel odd. But life moves fast. And your parents’ financial plans can and will affect your own, eventually. So it’s important to talk early and often about how they’re planning for retirement and the often high cost of aging.

“It’s never too soon to have this conversation,” says Greg Young, owner of Ahead Full Wealth Management LLC in Rhode Island. “If something happens to your parents, not only there goes your safety net and a key part of your support network, but their affairs will likely pile onto you.”

Tact is everything when talking about money. Show them you want to learn and you want to help. Use your own life events, like a new job, a new house or an expanding family, as an opening to talk about their plans.


It’s important to know if your parents are saving, but this conversation isn’t just about money. It’s also about their dreams for retirement.

The talk

Your first real job (or any new job) is a good chance to ease into the conversation. Ask your parents for advice as you navigate 401(k) contributions. A simple “What did you do?” gives you insight without being invasive.

House hunting? That’s another opportunity to check in with your folks about their retirement plans. You know, in case you need to add “in-law suite” to your wish list.

Long-term care insurance

The cost of extended care is staggering — assisted living carries a median price tag of $48,000 a year, while the annual median cost for a nursing home is nearly $90,000 for a semiprivate room, according to an annual survey by Genworth, an insurance company. In-home care can be just as costly, depending on the services needed.

Long-term care insurance helps offset the cost of nursing care and help with routine activities like eating, bathing and dressing, whether at home or in an assisted living or nursing home.

The talk

Long-term care insurance gets more expensive with age, so most people who buy it do so in their 50s or 60s. It’s good to start the conversation early to have the topic on your family’s radar.

“‘Do you have long-term health care insurance?’ That’s a specific question that is pretty palatable,” says Thayer Willis, a wealth counselor. “If they say yes, the follow-up question is: ‘How does it work exactly?’”

If the direct approach doesn’t jibe, try backing into the conversation. Use someone else’s experience as an example and ask whether your parents have considered assisted living in the future and how they would pay for it.

Estate planning

Sorting through an estate without clear directives can tear families apart. That’s the last thing your parents want. Talking openly about things like wills and trusts, life insurance and advance medical directives can help you understand what they have in place, and give you insight into their intentions, Young says.

“Knowing what to expect from them, or that they’ve done some planning, will certainly make an emotional eventuality a little easier,” he says.

The talk

Starting your own family, and setting up your own estate plan, is a great opportunity to ask your parents what they have in place. You can also use someone else’s experience to start the conversation.

“Ask questions like: ‘A friend from work had a parent die and they could not find any paperwork. … Do you and Mom have all your paperwork together in one place? If you were to pass, who has access to it?’” says Mark Struthers, owner of Sona Financial, a wealth management firm.

Your folks might not be comfortable talking about their finances. That’s OK. Don’t push them. Instead, make it clear that you’re ready and willing to talk another time, Willis says.

“You might need to take the approach of planting a seed, and that’s all you do in the first discussion,” she says. “Which is another reason for beginning early.”

More from NerdWallet:

Kelsey Sheehy is a writer at NerdWallet. Email:

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Greg Creed, CEO, Yum Brands

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

The parent company of fast-food franchises KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut reported first-quarter earnings Wednesday that beat Wall Street’s expectations.  

Yum Brands shares rose by less than 1% in premarket trading.

“First-quarter results were a solid start to the year, reflecting particular strength at the KFC division and Taco Bell U.S.,” CEO Greg Creed said in a statement. “With this quarter, we have a healthy foundation to help us achieve our 2019 guidance.”

Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: 82 cents vs. 81 cents expected
  • Revenue: $1.25 billion, matching expectations
  • Same-store sales: up 4%, vs. 2.66% increase expected

On an unadjusted basis, Yum’s first-quarter net income slid 39% to $262 million, or 83 cents per share, from $433 million, or $1.27 per share, a year earlier. Yum’s roughly 3% stake in Grubhub shaved 5 cents off of its earnings per share during the quarter.

Excluding refranchising gains, a tax expense on special items and other items, Yum earned 82 cents per share, topping the 81 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Net sales dropped 9% to $1.25 billion, which was in line with expectations. The company reported worldwide same-store sales growth of 4%, beating Wall Street’s estimates of 2.66%. Sales at Pizza Hut stores open at least a year were flat during the quarter. KFC reported same-store sales growth of 5%, while Taco Bell’s same-store sales increased by 4%.

Yum opened 310 net new stores during the quarter ended March 31.

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VOI is a Scandinavian green mobility company offering electric kick scooter sharing in partnership with cities and local communities.

Source: VOI

The popularity of e-scooters from billion-dollar companies like Uber, Lyft, Lime and Bird have created a new health scare, according to the Centers for Disease control.

Since electric scooters began populating streets of some of the country’s biggest cities last year, there has been a surge in emergency room visits for fractures, dislocations and head trauma, the CDC found in a study that will be released at the Epidemic Intelligence Service conference in Atlanta on Thursday.

The CDC has found that head injuries topped the list of accident-related incidents involving e-scooters at 45%. The study determined that many e-scooter injuries could have been prevented if riders wore helmets and were more careful around cars, according to summary of the study released on Wednesday.

“A high proportion of e-scooter related injuries involved potentially preventable risk factors, such as lack of helmet use, or motor vehicle interaction,” a preliminary summary of the study said.

The CDC launched the national study of e-scooter accidents in March, at the request of health and transportation departments in Austin, Texas.

Dockless electric scooters and bikes have become a phenomenon in numerous cities and college towns, as venture capitalists have poured money into a host of start-ups like Bird and Lime, which are aiming to solve so-called last-mile transportation with rentals. While Uber and Lyft are effective in taking people longer distances outside of city centers, the ride-hailing services don’t work well in the downtown parts of densely populated cities, where traffic often slows to a crawl.

But along with the new motorized vehicles has come a host of safety problems and complaints about the lack of regulatory oversight, particularly in places without clear rules about where people can ride and park the devices. Injuries are the bigger problem, with some medical professionals warning of a public health crisis.

A man rides an electric scooter Lime-S from the bike sharing service company ‘Lime.’

Chesnot | Getty Images

A CNBC story in March found that trauma centers around the country were experiencing a spike in e-scooter related injuries.

According to the CDC study, the most common wound after head injuries involved upper extremity fractures at 27%, followed by lower extremity fractures at 12%. The study, which lasted nearly three months, found the e-scooter injury rate was 14.3 per 100,000 trips.

The median age for people injured was 29. The majority of injuries occurred on the street, with 29% connected to first-time riders and 18% involving motor vehicles.

“Interventions aimed at these risks and education to first-time riders could potentially reduce injury incidence and severity,” the report said.

Half the people interviewed said a “surface condition like a pot hole or crack in the street” may have caused their injuries. Just over one-third of people in the survey said they would use a dockless electric scooter again.

Results of the study will be presented by the CDC at the Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference in Atlanta on Thursday. The Austin Public Health Department will hold a press conference to address final findings and recommendations later this week. The final study is likely to include slight adjustments to some of the statistics.

“We hope to build upon the results of this study as more agencies nationwide may use it as a base to expand their research and knowledge about this new mode of transportation,” said a spokesperson with the Austin Public Health Department.

WATCH: Scooters return to San Francisco streets

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Vineyard crews pick grapes in the early morning hours of September 18, 2018, near Sebastopol, California.

George Rose | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Farmers in the nation’s top agriculture state are increasingly moving to different forms of mechanization to get around the farm labor crunch, according to a California Farm Bureau survey.

The number of farm workers in California has been gradually declining in the past several years and stepped-up immigration sweeps by the federal government in California haven’t helped. Labor shortages have been especially tough on farmers with crops such as tree fruits, grapes and berries.

More than 40% of farmers in the past five years have been unable to obtain all the workers they needed for the production of their main crop, according to the survey, released Tuesday. Of the total reporting shortages, it found about 70% or more indicating they have experienced more trouble hiring in 2017 and 2018.

According to the farm bureau, about 56% of the farmers surveyed have started using mechanization in the past five years, and of the total, more than half said it was because of labor shortages.

“The most frequently used labor-saving technology was some sort of mechanical harvester,” said Dave Kranz, a spokesman for the farm bureau in Sacramento.

A total of 1,071 farmers participated in the survey, which was conducted in early 2019.

The survey also found that other new equipment increasingly being adopted by farmers includes specialized tractor attachments and mechanical planters or weeders. The survey didn’t ask specifically about farm robotic technology, but more of it is getting developed for use in agriculture, such as strawberry harvesting.

California’s $45 billion agriculture industry produces nearly half the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables as well as more than 90% of the tree nuts, including almonds and pistachios.

Roughly half of the farm workers nationally “lack legal immigration status,” according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures.

At the same time, the annual California survey found 86% of those agricultural producers surveyed said they have increased wages as part of an effort to hire enough people for their operations. Also, the survey found just over 30% of farmers have switched acreage to cope, and 6% said they had enrolled in the federal government’s H-2A agricultural visa program.

“The one thing that hasn’t been tried is to improve the visa program for people who want to come in from other countries and do some of the work that’s going begging now,” said Kranz.

The Trump administration pledged last year to modernize the nation’s temporary agriculture worker visa program, but so far no significant changes have been made to the H-2A program. Farmers frequently complain that the current H-2A program lacks flexibility and doesn’t adequately accommodate for changes in harvest needs.

CNBC reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Labor for comment.

In recent years, the H-2A program has included more than 200,000 certified temporary jobs nationally, with California typically being in the top 10 among states. Florida and Georgia are other states with a large number of temporary farm workers.

“It’s just an expensive, very cumbersome and complicated program,” said Daniel A. Sumner, an economist with the University of California-Davis’ Agricultural Issues Center. He also said some large agricultural producers that require thousands of workers may participate.

The farm bureau’s survey found 61% of California farmers reported that they had hired a labor contractor firm to cope with the labor shortage. The farm labor contractors recruit employees and typically handle all the payroll, training and required paperwork.

—Graphic by CNBC’s John Schoen.

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As the iPhone goes, so goes Apple Inc., but maybe not for much longer.

The vast majority of Apple’s

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 revenue comes from sales of its smartphones, but as smartphone sales have stagnated, Apple has had to look elsewhere for growth. So far, the results in this fiscal year haven’t been great: Apple revenue declined 4.6% year-over-year in the fiscal first quarter, and 5.1% in the second quarter that Apple reported Tuesday.

The tech giant guided for a rebound in the current quarter, however, forecasting revenue of $52.5 billion to $54.5 billion, which would be right in line with last year’s $53.3 billion, despite expectations for another substantial drop in iPhone sales. That guidance helped push Apple’s stock up about 5% in after-hours trading, which puts the company’s market cap back on track to $1 trillion.

As Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty pointed out in the conference call Tuesday, that forecast would mean a much smaller sequential decline between the second and third quarters than Apple has historically posted. Huberty said that decline has been around 15% historically, and sales declined 12.7% last year and 15.1% the year before between the two quarters, but Apple’s guidance suggests sales will drop less than 10% sequentially this year.

Live blog recap: Apple earnings send valuation back toward $1 trillion

Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri provided an interesting answer for why Apple expects that change — he said iPhone sales will only be helped by an easier comparison with last year’s sales, while it will be the other products that actually boost Apple’s revenue.

”We expect that we continue to have strong revenue growth from the non-iPhone categories, as we’ve had for the first half of our fiscal year,” Maestri said, adding that a rebound in China could also help.

The non-iPhone categories were a big help in the second quarter, when iPhone sales dropped more than 18%. Apple’s services revenue was the growth engine, with sales increasing nearly 25% to more than $11.5 billion, while iPad sales continued to show a strong rebound with an 18% increase and wearables jumped nearly 30%. Mac sales declined, but Chief Executive Tim Cook suggested that was due to constraints in sourcing processors — which has been a problem for personal-computer manufacturers amid issues at chip maker Intel Corp.

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 — that could lead to a healthy sequential rebound for PC sales.

See also: New Intel CEO rips the Band-Aid off

Apple executives repeatedly said that sales ticked up toward the end of the quarter, especially in China, which seemed to be the source of Apple’s optimistic forecast. Sales in China fell 21.5% in the second quarter, but that was actually an improvement from the first quarter’s 26.7% decline, and executives repeatedly talked up new pricing initiatives and trade-in programs as having an effect in the world’s most populous country.

“Our year-over-year revenue performance in Greater China improved relative to the December quarter and we’ve seen very positive customer response to the pricing actions we’ve taken in that market, our trade-in and financing programs in our retail stores, the effects of government measures to stimulate the economy, and improved trade dialogue between the United States and China,” Cook said.

Opinion: Tech giants made so much money in 2018 that 2019 is bound to look pretty bad

Apple must win back some of its China business and get massive growth from its non-iPhone categories to weather the state of its iPhone business right now, and the forecast suggests that executives believe that will happen. Currently, analysts expect iPhone sales to drop 15% in the third quarter, yet Apple believes it can avoid an overall revenue decline.

“The relative stabilization in China is a principal reason Apple can return to overall growth in the June quarter, two quarters earlier than we previously expected,” BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk wrote in a note Tuesday evening, while increasing his price target on Apple stock to $234 from $220. “To be clear, it’s still declining, just not as much and without impacting gross margins as much as we had feared.”

If Apple can at least show even revenue in the second half while continuing to weather iPhone sales declines, Cook and Co. will be able to claim a major win. They could also point to a return to growth next year, which — along with the additional billions coming investors’ way after Apple increased its dividend and share buyback reserves Tuesday — would keep Apple on a lot of “buy” lists. And we aren’t talking about the iPhone, either.

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