Earnings Roundup: UPS, AT&T, McDonald's, Xerox, More

Profits and sales are down for another quarter at UPS (UPS), but investors will be looking ahead to the upcoming holiday season to see if the world's largest shipping carrier - and the U.S. economy - are truly on the road to recovery.

The Atlanta-based company said Thursday its net income for the three months ended Sept. 30 fell more than 43 percent to $549 million, or 55 cents a share, compared to a profit of $970 million, or 96 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue dropped almost 15 percent to $11.2 billion from $13.1 billion a year ago.
AT&T's (T) profit dipped as revenue fell faster than the company could cut costs in its shrinking landline business.

The country's largest telecommunications provider said Thursday it earned $3.19 billion, or 54 cents per share, in the July to September period. That's down 1.2 percent from the same period a year earlier.

AT&T's revenue fell 1.6 percent.

The best sign for AT&T came from its wireless business, which added 2 million wireless subscribers in the third quarter, a figure that blew past expectations with the help of the iPhone.

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) says new, more expensive burgers helped its third-quarter profit climb almost 6 percent.

In the U.S., McDonald's said sales in restaurants opened at least a year rose 2.5 percent, helped by a healthy appetite for the third-pound Angus burgers that debuted nationwide in July.

For the three months that ended in late September, the world's largest burger chain earned $1.26 billion, or $1.15 per share. That compares with a year-ago profit of $1.19 billion, or $1.05 per share.

But overall revenue slid 3.5 percent to $6.05 billion, dragged down by currency fluctuations.

Travelers Cos. (TRV) said Thursday that lower losses related to severe weather and a rebound in its investment portfolio contributed to a jump in the insurer's profit for the third-quarter.

The New York-based commercial and property insurer also boosted its quarterly dividend 10 percent and authorized an additional $6 billion share repurchase program, citing improved stability in capital markets.

The company raised its full-year earnings outlook.

Travelers said net income more than quadrupled to $935 million, or $1.65 per share, from $214 million, or 36 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding items, operating profit totaled $1.61 cents per share - beating analysts' estimates of $1.31.
3M (MMM), which makes everything from Post-it Notes to insect repellent, says strong sales of health care
products in flu-wary Asia helped lift earnings beyond analyst expectations in the third quarter.

As a result, the St. Paul, Minn.-based conglomerate and Dow Jones component raised its outlook for the full year.

Net income in the quarter was $957 million, or $1.35 per share, compared with $991 million, or $1.41 per share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue slipped to $6.19 billion from $6.56 billion.

Despite the declines, results were still well above the average Wall Street estimate of $1.17 in earnings per share and revenue of $5.77 billion.
Drugmaker Merck & Co. (MRK) on Thursday posted a bigger profit in the third quarter due to slightly higher sales and a huge gain from selling a business.

The maker of cholesterol drugs, vaccines and asthma and allergy treatment Singulair said net income was $3.42 billion, more than triple what it made a year earlier.

That's mostly due to Merck having to sell its half of the Merial animal health business so that regulators would approve its plan to buy New Jersey neighbor Schering-Plough Corp. That sale brought in $2.8 billion.

Merck is about to leapfrog from No. 8 to No. 2 in the pharmaceutical industry with its pending $41 billion acquisition of Schering-Plough. That puts it right behind Pfizer Inc., which last week bought Wyeth for $68 billion.
Drugmaker Schering-Plough Corp. (SGP) on Thursday ported lower revenue and a smaller profit in the third quarter, partly due to slightly higher spending on taxes and research.

But the company, which soon will become part of much-larger Merck & Co., said that excluding unfavorable currency exchange rates, revenue was up 2 percent at $4.5 billion.

Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) on Thursday reported a solid increase in third-quarter revenue, due to
strong sales growth for its blockbuster blood thinner Plavix and other key medicines, and boosted its profit forecast.

Higher average drug prices and lower spending on marketing and administration also boosted the performance for the maker of Abilify, which treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and HIV drugs Sustiva and Reyataz.

However, New York-based Bristol-Myers said its net income from July through September was $966 million, down by nearly two-thirds from $2.6 billion a year earlier. That figure was inflated by a one-time, $2 billion gain from the sale of a business. Excluding that, profit actually was up by 64 percent in the last quarter.

The world's No. 15 drugmaker by revenue had sales of $5.49 billion, just a hair below the $5.52 billion analysts expected. A year ago, revenue totaled $5.25 billion.
Xerox Corp. (XRX) is reporting another drop in quarterly profit as companies continue to spend cautiously on printer and copier supplies and take longer to upgrade office equipment.

But the Norwalk, Conn.-based company is benefiting from cost controls, boosting its full-year adjusted profit forecast ahead of expectations.

Xerox earned $123 million, or 14 cents per share, in the three months ended Sep. 30. That's down 52 percent from $258 million, or 29 cents per share, a year ago.

It says sales fell 16 percent to $3.68 billion.
Dow Chemical (DOW) said Thursday that revenues slid in the third quarter and the company that makes the basic ingredients for everything from toys to cars is not counting on better conditions this year or next.

The company is selling assets and slashing costs, which did allow Dow to increase net income sharply during the past three months.

Dow Chemical Co., of Midland, Mich., says profit grew to $711 million, or 63 cents per share, compared with $428 million, or 46 cents per share a year ago. Excluding one-time benefits and losses, Dow earned 24 cents per share. Revenue fell 22 percent, to $12 billion from $15.4 billion.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

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