At a glance: American corporate results

Colgate-Palmolive trumps expectations
COLGATE-PALMOLIVE posted a higher quarterly profit yesterday that met analysts’ expectations as it increased advertising and cut costs to mitigate the impact of foreign currency fluctuations.

The toothpaste maker also stood by its forecast for the year and said it remains comfortable with analysts’ expectations.

Colgate earned $593m, or $1.23 per share, in the first quarter, up from $576m, or $1.16 per share, a year earlier.

Its sales rose nearly 5.2 per cent to $4.2bn, slightly better than expected by analysts.
Organic sales rose 6.5 per cent – the largest increase in seven quarters, said the firm.

Bristol-Myers approaches patent cliff
BRISTOL-MYERS Squibb said yesterday that first-quarter profit rose 10 per cent, helped by higher sales for its melanoma and leukemia drugs that cushioned the blow from generic competition to its Avapro blood pressure treatment.

Avapro marks the beginning of Bristol’s “patent cliff,” which is expected to worsen next month when its $7bn-a-year Plavix blood clot preventer loses US marketing exclusivity and faces copycat rivals.

Earnings rose 10 per cent to $1.1bn, or 64 cents per share. Bristol-Myers said it expects full-year 2012 earnings of $1.90 to $2.00 per share, a fall of 12 to 16.5 per cent on last year.

PepsiCo and Coke beat forecasts
PEPSICO and Coca-Cola Enterprises yesterday reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits, helped by price increases on sodas, and stood by their full-year forecasts.

PepsiCo said net income was $1.13bn, or 71 cents per share, in the first quarter, down from $1.14bn, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier. Net revenue grew four per cent to $12.43bn, driven by price increases.

Also, Coke Enterprises reported first-quarter earnings of 36 cents per share, topping estimates. The company, which bottles Coca-Cola drinks in Europe, affirmed its full-year forecast for earnings per share to grow by 10 per cent.

CME Group suffers from trading drop
CME Group’s first-quarter profit fell more than Wall Street anticipated, and chief executive Craig Donohue said he would likely hand the reins of the biggest US futures exchange operator to current president Phupinder Gill in May, months earlier than planned.

The company reported first-quarter net income of $266.3m, or $4.02 a share, down from $456.6m, or $6.83 a share, a year earlier.

Trading fell 11 per cent in the quarter, to an average of 12.3m contracts a day, helping to push down revenue to $775m from $831.6m a year earlier. Analysts had expected revenue of $779m, they said.

UPS hit by slump in the US economy
UNITED Parcel Service (UPS) reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings yesterday and attributed the shortcoming to customers choosing slower delivery options and weak shipments from Asia.

UPS, viewed as an economic bellwether, said net profit rose 6 per cent to $970m, or $1.00 per share in the first quarter, from $915m, or 91 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.01 per share, on average.

The company maintained its 2012 forecast of $4.75 to $5.00 earnings per share.

Total revenue rose 4.4 per cent to $13.14bn, UPS said.

Time Warner Cable gains customers
TIME Warner Cable yesterday posted a higher-than-expected profit, boosted by high-speed internet growth, but a contraction in its video business saw its shares pull back as some investors sold after gains of nearly 25 per cent this year.

Time Warner Cable added more than 217,000 residential and business internet customers and 124,000 phone customers during the first quarter.

But it lost 90,000 video subscribers to end the quarter with 12.5m, including 673,000 customers from the acquisition of Insight Communications.

First quarter net income rose to $382m, from $325m, a year ago.