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Corporate earnings

AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines, reported profits were up nearly 9 percent in the second quarter as the carrier filled more seats with passengers paying higher fares. AMR reported profits of $317 million, or $1.08 a share, in the second quarter, compared with $291 million, or $1.14 a share, a year ago. Revenue fell 1.6 percent to $5.87 billion from $5.97 billion in the year-ago quarter. Revenue also came in below analyst expectations of $5.978 billion.

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Delta Air Lines, the nation's third-largest carrier, cited a 5.5 percent gain in sales as it reported that it swung to a profit in the second quarter, which saw it emerge from bankruptcy after shaving billions of dollars in costs. For the three months ending June 30, Delta said it recorded net income of $1.77 billion, or $4.49 a share, compared to a loss of $2.21 billion in the same period a year earlier. Excluding reorganization and related one-time items, Delta said it had a profit of $274 million, or 70 cents a share.

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Gannett Co., the largest newspaper publisher in the country and owner of WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, reported increased profits from the second quarter on Wednesday on the sale of several newspapers. Net earnings totaled $365.7 million, or $1.56 per share, for the three months ending in June, versus $310.5 million, or $1.31 per share, a year earlier. Excluding a $73.8 million gain from the sale of several newspapers and earnings from discontinued operations in both periods, Gannett earned $289.9 million from continuing operations in the quarter, down 4.8 percent from $304.5 million in the same period a year earlier. from $2 billion.

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Altria Group, owner of the Philip Morris cigarette companies, said Wednesday that second-quarter income fell more than 18 percent but also reported a rise in profit from continuing operations and revenue. Net income for the second quarter dropped 18.3 percent to $2.22 billion, or $1.05 a share, from $2.71 billion, or $1.29 per share, in the same period last year. Excluding one-time costs, Altria said earnings per share were up 5 percent to $1.05.

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Pfizer Inc. reaffirmed its full-year guidance Wednesday despite a 48 percent drop in second-quarter profit because of lagging sales of cholesterol drug Lipitor and generic competition for Zoloft and Norvasc. A disappointing 13 percent drop in Lipitor sales marked a sharp turnaround from growth of 8 percent in the first quarter. Fluctuating wholesale inventory levels were to blame for both the first-quarter sales rise and about half of the second-quarter sales drop, the company said. Profits slid to $1.27 billion, or 18 cents per share, from $2.42 billion, or 33 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding items, adjusted profit fell 20 percent to $2.94 billion, or 42 cents per share, from $3.66 billion, or 50 cents per share, a year ago.

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Southwest Airlines Co., the largest low-fare carrier, said second-quarter profit fell 17 percent as average fares declined and it paid more for jet fuel. Southwest, which last month cut expansion plans for the fourth quarter and next year, said it will add five to 10 fewer Boeing Co. planes each year from 2009 through 2011. Net income dropped to $278 million, or 36 cents a share, from a record $333 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier.

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EBay Inc. reported that second-quarter profits surged 50 percent, easily beating Wall Street expectations thanks to strong sales on online auctions, the automobile classified section and e-commerce sites such as shopping.com. The San Jose-based company earned $375.8 million, or 27 cents per share, compared to $249.9 million, or 17 cents per share, a year ago.

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International Business Machines Corp. said second-quarter profits rose 12 percent and beat Wall Street forecasts, largely on the strength of IBM's software division and improvement in its services unit. The Armonk, N.Y.-based technology bellwether earned $2.26 billion, $1.55 per share, on revenue of $23.8 billion. IBM earned $2.02 billion, $1.30 per share, on revenue of $21.9 billion a year ago.

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Washington Mutual, the biggest U.S. savings and loan, said second-quarter profits rose 8.2 percent, beating analysts' estimates as the retail banking and credit card units grew and losses on mortgage lending narrowed. Net income advanced to $830 million, or 92 cents a share, from $767 million, or 79 cents, in the previous year's period.

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