Nestle’s sales: Is this coffee cup half empty or half full?

Nestle’s sales beat or missed expectations this quarter depending on what you measure and who you read.

Bloomberg reported disappointing nine-month numbers with slowing organic sales (growth generated from internal resources rather than through acquisition or currency effects) as demand fell in emerging markets. Revenue increased 6.1%, missing the 6.3% growth expected by 12 analysts Bloomberg surveyed.

Andrew Wood, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein said:

We expected a slowdown in growth, but we did not expect things to slow so much.

MarketWatch took a more positive view, reporting that Nestle’s nine-month total sales (those including everything) were better than expected, increasing 11% to CHF 67.6 billion ($73.2 billion). The explanation: “Strong growth in emerging markets offset a slowdown in Europe, where consumer confidence has been hit by the continuing debt crisis.”

Quoting chief executive Paul Bulcke from his statement:

We grew in the intensely competitive developed markets in spite of a general economic malaise and low levels of consumer confidence.

Let’s see how the market read the numbers:

Nestle shares fall on earnings news.
Nestle shares fall on earnings news. (Reuters)
5-day trading
5-day trading (Reuters)
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