Prognosticating what's in store for the U.S. economy is risky business, so we're not even going to try to do so. But, how is the U.S. economy progressing apart from what indicators like the unemployment rate tell us? Perhaps a portrait of the economy's overall health, nearly six years after the onset of the Great Recession, can begin to emerge when looking at the second quarter earnings reports of a cross-section of American corporations -- some new to the scene, like high-flying Facebook, and others iconic blue chip companies that have been around since the early 20th century, like Ford. Scroll through the slide show below and see which companies were the big winners during the second quarter, and which companies fell short of expectations.
Second quarter earnings
A look at the state of the US economy through Q2 earnings reports of 34 major American companies
Facebook 2Q profits more than double
Facebook is on a roll, according to the Associated Press. The world's largest online social network posted sharply higher earnings on Wednesday as revenue from mobile advertising continued to grow, and more people used it, more often.
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Delta 2Q profit rises 17 percent
The Associated Press reports that Delta Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday that second-quarter earnings rose 17 percent, topping analysts' expectations, as passengers flew more miles at higher average fares and fuel spending declined.
Delta said it benefited from gains in corporate contracts and domestic traffic. Like other airlines, Delta has been adding flights cautiously and instead is cramming more passengers on each plane. The average flight was 86.3 percent full, a figure that would have seemed impossible not long ago.
(Getty Photo/Associated Press story)
PepsiCo raises outlook, looks to new Lay's flavors
PepsiCo raised its forecast for the year on Wednesday and said its new Lay's potato chips - including a cappuccino variety - should help boost its profit in the months ahead.
The company, which also owns Tropicana, Gatorade and Quaker, said global volume for both its snacks and drinks rose 1 percent in the second quarter. The gains were relatively modest, but PepsiCo has been driving its financial performance with a cost-cutting plan expected to generate $1 billion in savings this year.
In its Frito-Lay North America division, PepsiCo said lower prices helped lift sales volume. Although the performance was muted, Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston noted in a phone interview with the Associated Press that the unit is expected to benefit in the current quarter from the rollout of special flavors - Cappuccino, Mango Salsa, Wasabi Ginger and Bacon Mac & Cheese.
(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Commercial jets push Boeing profits up 25 percent
Increased production of passenger jets helped push up Boeing's profit by 52 percent in the second quarter, topping Wall Street's expectations, reports the Associated Press.
The Chicago-based company said net income increased to $1.65 billion, or $2.24 per share, from $1.09 billion, or $1.41 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.
(AP Photo/Joseph Nair)
Union Pacific 2Q profit chugs ahead 17 percent
The AP reports that Union Pacific Corp. says its quarterly profit climbed 17 percent as the railroad hauled 8 percent more freight and raised shipping rates.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based company said Thursday that profit increased to $1.29 billion, or $1.43 per share, in the second quarter. That's up from $1.11 billion, or $1.18 per share, a year ago. The analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected profit of $1.42 per share on average.
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
3M 2Q profit rises 6 percent
The Associated Press reports that 3M's second-quarter profit jumped 6 percent as sales surged across all its businesses.
The maker of Post-it notes, industrial coatings and ceramics posted net income of $1.27 billion, or $1.91 per share, in the quarter ending June 30, compared with $1.2 billion, or $1.71 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.
(AP Photo/Associated Press Story)
Ford 2Q net income rises 6 percent to $1.3 billion
Ford Motor Co. beat Wall Street's expectations in the second quarter as it chalked up a record profit in North America and made money in Europe for the first time in three years.
But the Associated Press says that things will get leaner in the second half as Ford closes one of its U.S. pickup truck plants to prepare for its new aluminum-sided F-150 and spends more on materials and advertising. Ford, which earned $3.9 billion before taxes in the first half of this year, confirmed it expects full-year earnings of $7 billion to $8 billion. That's down from $8.6 billion in 2013.
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Caterpillar 2Q profit rises, revenue declines
Caterpillar's second-quarter net income rose 4.1 percent even as revenue slipped, according to the AP.
Caterpillar - which also makes power systems that include large electrical generators and locomotive engines - earned $999 million, or $1.57 per share, in the quarter. A year earlier it earned $960 million, or $1.45 per share.
(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Marlboro maker Altria's 2Q profit stays flat
Marlboro maker Altria Group posted flat second-quarter earnings Tuesday as higher prices helped to offset decline in the number of cigarettes it sold.
The Associated Press relayed that The Richmond company reported earnings of $1.26 billion, or 64 cents per share, in the quarter ended June 30, compared with $1.26 billion, or 63 cents per share, a year ago.
(AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)
GSK cuts earnings forecast after weak 2nd quarter
Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has cut its full-year earnings expectations as it says its second-quarter profits were hit by currency moves and a fall in sales of its respiratory drugs.
The company said Wednesday it expects 2014 earnings per share to be broadly similar to last year. It had previously forecast growth of between 4 and 8 percent.
Daimler revenue up; profit drops after 1-time gain
Automaker Daimler AG reported a 6 percent increase in second-quarter revenue and confirmed its full-year targets on Wednesday as new models and cost-cutting efforts helped its performance, though net profit declined sharply after a big one-time gain last year.
The maker of Mercedes cars said net earnings for the April-June period were 2.2 billion euros ($3 billion), down from 4.58 billion euros a year earlier - a figure that was boosted by the sale of its stake in Airbus' parent company.
The Associated Press reported Comcast's second-quarter net income rose 15 percent to nearly $2 billion as it added high-speed Internet customers at a faster pace and video subscriber losses moderated.
The nation's largest cable provider topped Wall Street estimates and shares edged up in afternoon trading.
The nation's largest cable provider said Tuesday that net income rose to $1.99 billion, or 76 cents per share, up from $1.73 billion, or 65 cents per share, a year ago.
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Verizon adds 1.4M long-term wireless plans in 2Q
According to the Associated Press, Verizon added more than 1.4 million long-term wireless subscribers in the second quarter, with strong gains in both smartphones and tablets, the company said Thursday.
Shares of the New York-based company slid 13 cents in after-hours trading to $49.51. The stock had closed up 74 cents at $49.64.
(Shutterstock Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Goldman Sachs posts higher profit and revenue
Goldman Sachs said Tuesday that its quarterly profit rose 5 percent, helped by record results from investment banking.
The AP reports the company's second-quarter net income climbed to $1.95 billion from $1.86 billion a year earlier, the bank said early Tuesday. That's after paying dividends on preferred stock.
(Getty Photo/Associated Press)
JPMorgan's second-quarter net income falls
JPMorgan Chase, the nation's largest bank by assets, said Tuesday its second-quarter earnings fell 9 percent as revenue at its investment banking and mortgage businesses dropped.
The bank's net income totaled $5.6 billion in the quarter after payments to preferred shareholders. That was down from net income of $6.1 billion in the same period last year.
Dupont 2Q profit climbs 3.9 percent
DuPont Co. (DD) on Tuesday reported net income that climbed by 3.9 percent in its second quarter, matching analyst expectations, says The Associated Press.
Shares of the Wilmington, Delaware, company jumped before markets opened and after it released results.
The chemical giant said profit increased to $1.07 billion, or $1.15 per share, from $1.03 billion, or $1.11 per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
J&J 2Q PROFIT CLIMBS 13 PERCENT ON NEW-DRUG SALES
Strong sales of several new drugs, particularly its hot new hepatitis medicine, lifted Johnson & Johnson's second-quarter profit by 13 percent, topping analysts' expectations.
The AP's Linda Johnson reports the company's earnings increased to $4.33 billion, or $1.51 per share, from $3.83 billion, or $1.33 per share, a year earlier.
(Getty Photo/LINDA A. JOHNSON)
Netflix tops 50m subscribers are 2Q earnings soar
Michael Liedtke of The Associated Press reports Netflix's second-quarter earnings more than doubled as new episodes from a hit series helped the Internet video service surpass 50 million worldwide subscribers for the first time.
The gains announced Monday include an additional 570,000 U.S. subscribers, slightly more than Netflix's management predicted. The quarter is typically the company's slowest of the year, as people spend more time outdoors instead of watching video.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
GE 2Q profit jumps 13 percent on aviation, oil and gas
Jonathan Fahey of The Associate Press reports General Electric's net income rose 13 percent in the second quarter on strong performance from its aviation and oil and gas divisions.
The company said orders, especially those in developing countries, were strong and that the global economic environment continues to be positive.
GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, is working to become a more focused industrial conglomerate by shedding divisions such as NBC Universal, real estate and some banking operations.
Second-quarter profit increased to $3.55 billion, or 35 cents per share, from $3.13 billion, or 30 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.
(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Google's 2Q revenue gains eclipse earnings miss
Michael Liedtke of The Associate Press reports Google's earnings rose modestly in the second quarter as the Internet company's expensive ambitions devoured most of a surprisingly strong gain in revenue.
The report released Thursday also showed that Google's advertising prices are still dropping to extend a nearly three-year slump.
Google Inc. earned $3.4 billion, or $4.99 per share, during the April-June quarter. That compared to income of $3.2 billion, or $4.77 per share, in the same period last year.
(AP Photo/Jens Meyer, file)
Capital One posts higher 2Q profit
Steve Rothwell of The Associate Press reports Capital One Financial Corp. said Thursday that second-quarter profit rose 8 percent as it set aside less money for bad loans and its domestic card business returned to growth.
McLean, Virginia-based Capital One said that net income after paying preferred dividends rose to $1.18 billion, or $2.04 per share, in the three months ended June 30. That compares with net income of $1.09 billion, or $1.85 per share, in the same period a year earlier
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
GM profit 2Q falls 85 pct. on recall costs
Recall expenses chopped $1.5 billion from General Motors' bottom line in the second quarter, as it added up the costs of repairs for nearly 30 million cars and set aside funds to compensate victims of small-car crashes.
Revenue was up 1.3 percent for the quarter to $39.6 billion, about $300 million below analysts' estimates.
Morgan Stanley said Thursday that its quarterly profit more than doubled, thanks to strong performances from its investment banking and money-management units, according to Matthew Craft of the The Associate Press.
Second-quarter net income jumped to $1.88 billion from $900 million a year earlier, after excluding an accounting gain.
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
United Airlines posts 2Q profit, reversing 1Q loss
The airline's net income in the second quarter hit $789 million, topping Wall Street expectations and marking a turnaround from the first quarter when United was the only major U.S. carrier to report a loss.
The company also said Thursday that it will buy back up to $1 billion in shares over the next three years.
(Getty Photo/Associated Press)
UnitedHealth's 2Q profit slips 2 percent
UnitedHealth Group's second-quarter earnings slipped 2 percent on a rise in taxes and other expenses, but the nation's largest health insurer still trumped analyst expectations according to Tom Murphy of the The Associate Press.
UnitedHealth said revenue gains, particularly in its Medicaid business and through its Optum segment, helped counter the expenses during the quarter that ended June 30. Medicaid is the state-federal program that covers the poor and elderly people.
Overall, the insurer earned $1.41 billion, or $1.42 per share, in the quarter. That's down from $1.44 billion, or $1.40 per share, in the 2013 quarter, when it had more shares outstanding.
Revenue rose 7 percent to $32.57 billion.
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Southwest reports record profit of $465M for 2Q
The Associated Press reports Southwest Airlines posted a record profit for the second quarter, more than doubling its earnings from a year ago.
The company said it set records for passenger fares per mile and the percentage of seats sold on its planes during the April-to-June period. It said that bookings in July have been strong, with passengers paying about 3 percent more per mile than in July 2013.
(Getty Photo/Associated Press)
YAHOO 2Q EARNINGS, REVENUE FALL AMID AD SLUMP
Yahoo Inc. said Tuesday that its second-quarter earnings and revenue declined, as the company struggled again with display advertising sales.
Both fell short of Wall Street's expectations, as did revenue forecast for the current quarter, causing the limping Internet icon's stock to fall in extended trading.
(AP Photo/Barbara Ortutay)
Philip Morris International's 2Q falls 13 percent
According to the The Associate Press, Philip Morris International's second-quarter profit declined 13 percent, stung by foreign exchange rates for the U.S. dollar.
But its adjusted profit and revenue topped Wall Street's view. Its shares edged up in morning trading Thursday.
The seller of Marlboro cigarettes and other brands outside the U.S. earned $1.85 billion, or $1.17 per share, for the period ended June 30. A year earlier it earned $2.12 billion, or $1.30 per share.
(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
CSX RAILROAD'S 2Q PROFIT CHUGS AHEAD 2 PERCENT
CSX Corp. (CSX) said Tuesday its second-quarter profit chugged ahead 2 percent as the economy continued to improve, so the railroad is investing an additional $100 million in its network.
The Associated Press reports the Jacksonville, Florida-based company said its net income improved to $529 million, or 53 cents per share, from $521 million, or 51 cents per share, in the same period last year.
(Getty Photo/Josh Funk)
BANK OF AMERICA TAKES $4 BILLION LITIGATION HIT
Bank of America said Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings were hit by higher litigation expenses.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank earned $2 billion in the second quarter after payments to preferred shareholders, compared with $3.6 billion in the same period a year earlier, a decline of 43 percent.
The AP reports the company's revenue fell 4 percent to $21.9 billion from $22.9 billion.
(AP Photo/Steve Rothwell)
Yum Brands 2Q profit climbs 19 percent
According to The Associated Press, Yum Brands Inc. reported a 19 percent increase in second-quarter profits, boosted by rebounding business at KFC in China where worries about food safety have eased.
The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, which also operates Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, said late Wednesday that sales at established locations in China surged 15 percent. In late 2012, a TV report said some of KFC's suppliers were giving chickens unapproved levels of antibiotics. That fueled fears over food safety and sales plunged. A few months later, fears over avian flu upended the recovery.
Yum Brands Inc. reported that net income was $334 million, or 73 cents per share, compared with $281 million, or 61 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Strong Paypal growth boosts Ebay's 2Q profit
Mae Anderson from the Associated Press reports Ebay said Wednesday that its second-quarter net income rose 6 percent, as strong growth from its PayPal payments business offset lower-than-expected revenue that was hampered by a global password reset after a cyberattack.
Investors had been expecting muted results and shares rose slightly in aftermarket trading, even though the company lowered its sales guidance for the year.
(AP Photo/Mae Anderson)
GM profit 2Q falls 85 pct. on recall costs
According to The Associated Press, recall expenses chopped $1.5 billion from General Motors' bottom line in the second quarter, as it added up the costs of repairs for nearly 30 million cars and set aside funds to compensate victims of small-car crashes.
The nation's biggest automaker posted a net profit of $190 million, or 11 cents per share. A year ago GM made $1.26 billion, or 75 cents per share. Without one-time items GM would have made 58 cents per share, equaling Wall Street's expectations, according to data provider FactSet.
So far this year GM has recalled almost 30 million vehicles, surpassing the company's annual record of 11.8 million in 2004.