By Francesca Fontana 

J.M. Smucker Co.

Sales are suddenly not so sweet for J.M. Smucker. The causes? Coffee, peanut butter and pet food. The company said falling prices for coffee and peanut butter, two of its key products, dragged sales down in its latest quarter. Smucker's pet-food business faced significant competition as other pet-food makers lowered prices for higher-end products to draw in consumers. Smucker bought the producer of the Rachael Ray Nutrish pet-food brand last year for $1.7 billion. Its rival General Mills Inc. has been expanding distribution of Blue Buffalo pet food products. Shares fell 8.2% Tuesday.

Altria Group Inc.

Two tobacco giants struggling with shrinking demand for their core product are trying to think beyond cigarettes. Altria and Philip Morris International Inc. are in advanced talks to merge, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, in a deal that would reunite businesses that split apart in 2008. They still hold the same portfolio of cigarettes, including Marlboro. But both companies have been struggling with declining cigarette consumption. They plan to jointly start selling a cigarette alternative in September. Altria shares added 1.3% Wednesday, and Philip Morris shares gained 3.7%.

Best Buy Co.

Best Buy can't buy a break from the U.S.-China trade war. Its shares fell 8% Thursday after the electronics retailer cited tariffs as a factor in disappointing second-quarter sales and a narrowing of its revenue forecast for the year. Chief Executive Officer Corie Barry, who took over the top job in June, said Chinese-made goods account for about 60% of the company's cost of goods sold, but that there are ways to significantly reduce the share affected by tariffs. "We're actively engaged in mitigation efforts to minimize the impact on consumers and our business," Ms. Barry said.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Bristol-Myers Squibb took a big step toward acquiring Celgene Corp. on Monday as the two pharmaceutical companies found a buyer for a skin treatment. Amgen Inc. agreed to buy the psoriasis treatment Otezla from Celgene for $13.4 billion in cash. The decision came after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission raised anticompetitive concerns related to anti-inflammatory drugs, of which Otezla is an example. Analysts at JP Morgan Chase JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a note to clients there aren't any additional FTC concerns on the horizon related to the merger with Celgene. Bristol-Myers shares rose 3.3% Monday.

Dollar Tree Inc.

Some air went out of Dollar Tree after executives blamed a global helium shortage for some sales weakness in the most recent quarter. Dollar-store chains Dollar Tree and Dollar General Corp. both said Thursday that lower-income shoppers who continue to spend helped sales rise during the quarter, but lost balloon sales during Mother's Day and Father's Day reduced comparable sales by 0.4%, said Dollar Tree Chief Executive Officer Gary Philbin on a call with analysts. Dollar Tree shares fell 1.9% Thursday while rival Dollar General's shares soared 10.7%.

Papa John's International Inc.

The pizza maker recruited its new boss from the world of roast beef. Papa John's hired Arby's President Rob Lynch Tuesday as its chief executive, the company's second change at the top in less than two years. Mr. Lynch said he was eager to push the chain past controversy surrounding founder and former CEO John Schnatter and refocus on its reputation for variety and fresh ingredients. Mr. Schnatter left Papa John's board in March after using a racial slur. Shares rose 9.5% after the announcement.

Johnson & Johnson

The opioid legal bills are piling up at big drug companies. Johnson & Johnson shares rose 1.4% after a judge ruled the drugmaker must pay $572 million for contributing to an opioid-addiction crisis in Oklahoma. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and its owners, the Sackler family, are in separate talks with state and local governments to resolve more than 2,000 opioid cases, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Write to Francesca Fontana at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 30, 2019 18:41 ET (22:41 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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