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.