Kroger ($61; KR) has pulled another profit surprise out of its cart. October-quarter per-share profits jumped 30% to $0.69 excluding special items, topping the consensus by $0.08, helped by unusually high profit margins on fuel sales. Revenue advanced 11%, also ahead of expectations. Excluding fuel, same-store sales rose 5.6%, the 44th consecutive quarter of growth. Kroger boosted its profit guidance for the year ending January. The company expects same-store sales excluding fuel to climb 4% to 5% in the January quarter. Shares rallied on the report. Kroger is a Focus List Buy and a Long-Term Buy.
Shire ($208; SHPG) said its pipeline, which includes potential treatments for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, should generate $3 billion in product sales by 2020. The drugmaker reported product sales of $5.61 billion in the 12 months ended September, and most of its current drugs are still growing sales at double-digit rates. Shire is a Focus List Buy and a Long-Term Buy.