Stocks in the news: Ford, 3M, Schlumberger, General Electric

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Ford Motor Co. (F) reported a first-quarter loss of $1.4 billion Friday, but added it burned through less money as it continued on with its restructuring plan without government aid. Results beat analyst estimates. Ford shares surged 19 percent at the open.

3M Co. (MMM), unlike Ford, reported results below analyst expectations. 3M reported a first-quarter profit decline to to $518 million, or 74 cents a share, from $1 billion, or $1.38 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, it earned 81 cents a share, below the 85 cents a share analysts had expected. Sales plunged 21.3 percent. 3M also lowered its earnings outlook.

Schlumberger (SLB) said Friday its first-quarter earnings tumbled about 30 percent to $938.5 million, or 78 cents per share, as oil and natural gas companies cut back on exploration and drilling due to lower prices and demand. It also forecast sluggish oil-patch activity for at least the rest of this year. The result topped analyst estimates for earnings of 73 cents a share. SLB shares climbed over 7 percent at the open.

General Electric (GE), sold 81 percent of its GE Homeland Protection division to Safran SA, a maker of aircraft engines and avionics systems, for $580 million. GE will retain a 19 percent stake in the business and a seat on the board. Shares were 1.3 percent higher minutes after the open.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) posted a sharp drop in fiscal-third-quarter profit Thursday and its first year-over-year decline in quarterly sales since it went public in 1986. Microsoft said it expects "weakness to continue through at least the next quarter." Results came in below analyst estimates, but the software maker predicted it can shave an extra $700 million from operating expenses this year. Shares jumped 5.8 percent minutes after the open.

Amazon.com (AMZN) surprised Wall Street Thursday afternoon with strong earnings growth for the first quarter as revenue grew 18 percent the without online retailer having to resort to massive price cuts. Amazon also said it saw particularly strong demand for its Kindle e-reader device in the recent quarter. While results topped estimates, sales forecast for the current quarter were slightly below forecasts. Shares opened about 2 percent higher.

Disclosure: Long Ford.


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