Latest results from major marketers and the mediaDaimlerChrysler (calendar Q3)
The German/US carmaker posted an operating profit of €1.3 billion ($1.66bn; £905.39m) thanks to the resurgence of its Chrysler division. This equates to a 7% year-on-year increase.
But the company's stateside success was held back by sagging profit at Mercedes-Benz, which had weak sales, particularly in Germany, and has been forced to embark on a costly campaign to improve its quality.
Overall, however, DaimlerChrysler's sales rose 3% compared with last year. But sales in the European Union fell 2%, and 7% in Germany. "Demand continued to be weak in Western Europe, and more especially in Germany," said cfo Manfred Gentz.
Operating profit at Mercedes, once the company's piggybank, fell 62%, to €304 million. Some of that decline was related to the rising euro and the weaker dollar, which makes Mercedes cars more expensive in the United States.
ExxonMobil (calendar Q3)
It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Net profits at the US oil and energy titan climbed to $5.68 billion (€4.45bn; £3.1bn) from $3.65bn in the three months to September 30.
The quarter included a $550m after-tax charge against a legal settlement arising from over-charging wholesale gasoline customers.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (calendar Q3)
The jailed homemaking guru's exploitation vehicle posted a loss of $15 million (€11.76m; £8.19m) compared with a year-on-year shortfall of $3.9m. Sales fell 24% to $38.7m.
Each of the company's four divisions - publishing, television, merchandising, and internet and direct commerce - saw revenues decline, despite which the company said it is "increasingly optimistic" about an advertising recovery next year.
Stewart is expected to resume working for the firm once she is released from prison in the spring of 2005.
Matsushita (fiscal H1)
The Japanese manufacturer of the Panasonic brand lifted first-half operating profit by over 90% to ¥156 billion ($147.04m; €115.24m; £80.26m) on an 18.7% increase in sales to ¥4,320bn. The increase was driven by strong demand for plasma display televisions, DVD recorders and air-conditioners.
Matsushita left its full-year estimate unchanged, forecasting operating profit up 43 per cent to Y280bn.
Sony Corporation (fiscal Q2)
Blockbuster movie Spider Man 2 helped lift the group's net profit by 31% to ¥53.2 billion ($50.15m; €39.3m; £27.37m) from ¥32.9bn a year earlier), thanks to the film's revenue contribution of $781m in just four months.
The film division made ¥27.4bn profit against a ¥4.6bn year-on-year loss, helping to hike the division's operating profits from ¥33.2bn a year earlier to Y43.4bn - despite a sales decline of 5.3% to ¥1,702bn.
But the performance of Sony's core electronics division continues to disappoint, with operating income plunging 83.4% to ¥7.2bn. Says cfo/vp Katsumi Ihara: "To be frank, I am a bit disappointed with the performance of the electronics business."
Despite cutting its sales estimate from ¥7,550bn to ¥7,350bn. Sony edged-up its pre-tax profit forecast by ¥10bn to Y170bn.
Viacom (calendar Q3)
The media giant announced a 12% increase in profits from continuing operations, fuelled by advertising gains at network television unit CBS and youth oriented music channel MTV.
Profits from continuing operations increased to $722.6 million (€566.34m; £394.43m), beating $647.9m a year earlier. Sales grew 4.3% to $5.48bn. But if results from its former Blockbuster unit are included, profit transmutes into a net loss of $487.6m, compared with net income of $699.6m a year-earlier.
Viacom also lifted its sales and earnings forecasts for the year, saying that it now expects 2004 revenue to increase by about 8 %, up from the 5% to 7 % forecast three months ago.
Its cable-networks unit, which includes MTV and Nickelodeon, boosted operating income 13%. Broadcast television, which includes CBS, was up 7%.
But radio unit Infinity Broadcasting, which accounts for about 20% of Viacom's operating income, continues to struggle with a decline in operating income of 17%, one of the sharpest quarterly declines in the past few years.
Volkswagen (calendar Q3)
Net income fell 65% year-on-year to €76 million ($96.97m; £52.93m) - the seventh consecutive quarter of declining profit.
Volkswagen, which has languished in the USA and China, as well as its home patch of Europe, consoled shareholders by staying with its forecast of a full-year operating profit of €1.9 billion before special charges.
Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff