Stocks in the news: Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Texas Instruments

The following post rounds up the companies making headlines today:

Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) said Tuesday its second-quarter profit tumbled 66 percent as revenue dropped 41 percent as the recession continued to erode sales of its machines and engines. But the company boosted its 2009 profit forecast, saying it is seeing signs of stabilization. Caterpillar had crushed estimates for earnings of 22 cents per share when it reported 72 cents per share excluding items. Shares jumped over 12 percent in pre-market trading.

Coca-Cola (KO) on Tuesday posted a 43 percent increase in second-quarter profit mainly due to charges in last year's quarter, but it still beat earnings expectations as rapid overseas growth helped offset a sales decline caused by the stronger dollar.
DuPont (DD) reported a sharp fall in quarterly net income Tuesday, citing weak sales -- a 22 percent decline, restructuring charges and the adverse impact of currency exchange rates. And in what's become the theme of this earnings season, expectations were actually lower and the Dow component beat earnings per share expectations. DuPont earned 61 cents a shares excluding items, compared to 53 cents a share estimate. It missed on the top line. Shares gained about 2.5 percent ahead of the bell.

United Technologies (UTX) posted a 23 percent drop in profit to $976 million, or $1.05 per diluted share and lowered its 2009 forecast as it faces weaker-than-expected orders for equipment used in large buildings and aircraft. The company still managed to beat estimates by a penny.

Merck & Co. (MRK) posted a 12 percent drop in second-quarter profit, due to lower sales of its cholesterol drugs and several vaccines, but still beat Wall Street's conservative expectations. Excluding those one-time charges, earnings per share would have been 83 cents, beating the 77 cents estimates. The company also reported a better top line. Shares climbed 3.8 percent in pre-market.

Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL) said Tuesday it will cut 1,700 jobs and raise fees for checking luggage after it posted a large loss for the second quarter amid falling traffic. The loss was larger than estimates.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) reported its second-quarter profit more than doubled on higher premiums and growing Medicare enrollment, beating analysts' estimates.

Apple (AAPL) and Yahoo (YHOO) report after the close of trade. Many are expected tech darling Apple to post good results arising from strong Mac and iPhone sales. Meanwhile, Yahoo! has redesigned its homepage.

Texas Instruments (TXN) reported a 56 percent profit fall for the second quarter, but it wasn't as steep as analysts had forecast, and projected third-quarter earnings ahead of Wall Street estimates. Shares declined 2.5 percent in pre-market trade as the company seemed cautious in its outlook.

Boston Scientific (BSX) beat estimates when it reported Monday after the close and issued a higher guidance. Legg Mason (LM) also reported better-than-expected earnings when reporting late Monday. LM shares were 6 percent higher ahead of the bell.

Other than earnings, CIT Group Inc.'s (CIT) $3 billion rescue loan from bondholders may not be sufficient and fail to shield it from about $10 billion of debt maturing through next year, mounting loan defaults and a shrinking market share.

Bank of America (BAC) may incur a $12 billion pretax charge in the first quarter of 2010 to comply with an accounting rule governing how it records credit card losses, an analyst said on Monday.

Research In Motion Ltd (RIMM) said on Monday Nortel Networks had effectively blocked it from bidding potentially $1.1 billion for the bankrupt Canadian company's wireless business.

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