KFC falls prey to the bird flu, and the PC may become a dinosaur.
Record highs continue to pile up on Wall Street. The Dow Industrials rallied 128 points yesterday and the S&P 500 jumped 19, both closing at record levels. The Nasdaq soared 39 points.
The bird flu outbreak in China is taking a big bite out of KFC's sales there. They fell 16 percent last week, and the downtrend for the unit of Yum Brands (YUM) is continuing this month. More than half of Yum's total sales come from China, where it has above 5,000 KFC outlets.
Worldwide shipments of personal computers tumbled by nearly 14 percent in the first quarter. Market researcher IDC says that's the biggest drop since it began tracking the numbers in 1994. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) remains the number one PC maker, despite a 24 percent slide in the quarter. Dell's (DELL) shipment's fell by 11 percent, and Apple's (AAPL) dropped more than seven percent. The decline signals consumer's growing preference for smartphones and tablets. IDC also notes that Microsoft's (MSFT) rollout of Windows 8 has done nothing to slow the decline in PC sales, and may have even made it worse.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reports Microsoft is developing a new line of tablets, including a 7-inch version of the Surface. Goldman Sachs (GS) lowered its rating on Microsoft to neutral.
General Motors (GM) says it plans to invest more than $5 billion dollars in its ailing European brands, Opel and Vauxhall. The company's European operations lost $1.8 billion last year, so it was either invest more to rebuild the brand, or retreat.
Costco (COST) reports a key measure of sales rose 4 percent last month. That's a bit below expectations... a rare miss for the warehouse club retailer.
And shares of Integra LifeSciences (IART) are set to tumble after the company recalled some of its surgical products. It also issued a disappointing earnings forecast.
–Produced by Drew Trachtenberg
Go Inside The Secret Test Kitchen Where McDonald's Invents New Menu Items
Market Minute: Yum Brands' China Sales Catch a Case of Bird Flu
Tucked away at the McDonald's C.O.B. — or Campus Office Building — is the test kitchen, where the fast food chain comes up with all sorts of products.