Update on Second-Quarter Earnings Reports

Yesterday’s earnings wrapup suggested three best bets, Caterpillar, Merck and UnitedHealth Group. All three companies exceeded expectations and posted strong gains. Caterpillar rose nearly 8%, Merck was up +6% and UnitedHealth gained 3%. The Dow and Nasdaq, by contrast, were flat for the day.

The biggest earnings surprise came from McClatchy, the newspaper publisher, which saw its shares gain +37% on a surprising second-quarter profit. That’s a nice one-day gain, of course, but it comes after the company has lost functionally all of its market value. Shares remain off -84% for the past 52 weeks and are best suited for speculators, not investors.

Here’s a look at some of today’s earnings reports:

Company (Ticker) Estimate Reported Earnings Stock Price
Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) $0.22 $0.72 +7.7%
DuPont (NYSE: DD) $0.53 $0.61 Flat
Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) $0.45 $0.38 +3.8%
Merck (NYSE: MRK) $0.77 $0.83 +6.1%
Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) $0.89 $0.92 -1.3%
United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) $1.05 $1.05 -1.8%
Comerica (NYSE: CMA) -$0.36 -$0.10 -10.1%
Hudson City Bank (Nasdaq: HCBK) $0.25 $0.26 -4.5%
First Cash (Nasdaq: FCFS) $0.30 $0.38 +0.8%
State Street (NYSE: STT) $0.98 $1.04 -3.9%
United Health (NYSE: UNH) $0.70 $0.73 +3.0%
Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) $0.08 $0.16 -1.5%
Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) -$1.35 -$1.72 -7.4%
United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) -$2.66 -$2.23 +6.0%
Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) $0.07 $0.07 -5.9%
McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) -$0.08 $0.50 +37.0%
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) -$1.18 -$1.35 +4.8%

Each member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average that posted results today met or exceeded expectations.

Don’t let State Street fool you: After one-time items that $1.04 profit turned into a -$7.12 loss. Apple shares rose after a better-than-expected showing, my colleague Andy Obermueller predicted shares would jump after hours, which they have. You can read the rest of Andy’s predictions about Apple here.