The old adage, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America”, if true, is equally applicable to fellow US economic icons Coca-Cola Company and the Ford Motor Company, both of which reported positive first quarter results Wednesday.

Coca-Cola’s net income in the period rose to $835 million (€764.87m; £529.42m) , or 34 cents a share – a dramatic improvement on Q1 2002 when the beverage behemoth recorded a net loss of $194m (minus 8 cents a share). Excluding one-time exceptional items, the results are in line with analysts' expectations, reports Thomson First Call.

Coke’s president/chief operating officer Steven J Heyer reported that the company outperformed its rivals in the first quarter, gaining share in crucial markets including the US, Japan, France, Britain and Mexico.

Revenue increased 10% from $4.1 billion to $4.5 billion. But Heyer omitted to quantify how much market share Coke had snatched from rivals like PepsiCo.

Ford reported substantially better-than-expected results for the first quarter, attributing this to the success of its draconian cost-cutting program, and reaffirming its profit outlook for the full year.

The automaker posted earnings of $896 million (€820,80m; £568.09m), or 45 cents a share, contrasting year-on-year with a loss of $1.1 billion (minus 61 cents). The latest data bettered analysts’ average forecast of 22 cents a share and the company's own estimate of 20 cents.

Data sourced from: New York Times and The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff