Stocks in the news: Apple, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Pfizer

Apple (AAPL) late Monday reported sales and profit that trounced estimates, sending its shares to all-time highs. iPhone and Mac sales hit record, with Macs sales jumping 17 percent, but iPhone sales held back. DailfyFinance's Alex Salkever thinks Apple's "easy days could soon be over." Meanwhile, 9to5Mac speculates about an unusually large freight costs during the quarter and whether it's in preparation of a mystery product -- not iPhone. AAPL shares jumped over 6 percent in pre-market trade to around $202 a share.

Caterpillar (CAT) said Tuesday its third-quarter profit tumbled 53 percent to $404 million, or 64 cents per share, as customers demand for its machines remained sluggish. But the company said the latest quarter was its low point in the recession and raised its profit outlook for 2009 and better demand next year. Shares were about 5.5 percent higher ahead of the bell.
Texas Instruments (TXN) reported late Monday a 4.4 percent drop in third-quarter profit to $538 million, or 42 cents a share, but its sequential sales jumped significantly, allowing the chip maker to raise earnings guidance. Shares gained over 2.5 percent in pre-market trade.

DuPont (DD) reported that its profit rose, to $409 million, or 45 cents per share, topping Wall Street estimates as cost-cutting helped offset lower volumes. Analysts had expected earnings of 33 cents a share. Total sales dropped 20 percent to $6.16 billion, but DuPont expects improving demand in key markets. Shares were over 3 percent higher before the bell.

Coca-Cola (KO) said its third-quarter profit rose less than 1 percent to $1.92 billion, or 81 cents per share, as revenue slumped to $8.04 billion due to softer demand and unfavorable exchange rate, missing estimates. Without a restructuring charge, the company beat the 81 cents per share profit estimate by one penny. Shares fell nearly 2 percent in pre-market action.

Pfizer (PFE) reported 26 percent higher earnings despite lower sales and beat analysts' projections as sharp cost cuts made up for slightly lower sales. Pfizer earned $2.88 billion. Sales were $11.62 billion in the quarter, down 3 percent. Shares gained about 2.5 percent before the bell.

United Technologies' (UTX) profit fell 17 percent to $1.06 billion, or $1.14 per share, as the company felt the impact of the downturn in aerospace and commercial real estate markets as key businesses posted declines in the third quarter. Revenue fwas $13.38 billion, down 11 percent. The company managed to beat estimates. Shares fell in pre-market trade.

Yahoo (YHOO) is one of the companies reporting after the close.

Adecco SA said Tuesday it has offered $1.17 billion to buy Florida-based MPS Group Inc. (MPS).

Qatar's sovereign-wealth fund said it was selling part of its stake in U.K. bank Barclays (BCS). Barclays will record a 750 million pound profit on the sale of warrants.

More earnings in brief:

Select analyst calls:
  • RBC Capital Markets upgraded Bank of America (BAC) from Sector Perform to Outperform
  • Barclays Capital upgraded Ford Motor Co. (F) from Underweight to Equal Weight
  • Credit Suisse upgraded Family Dollar (FDO) from Neutral to Outperform
  • Wells Fargo downgraded Boston Scientific (BSX) from outperform to Market Perform
  • Oppenheimer upped Apple's target from $210 to $235.
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