Quarterly results reported late last week ...
The German-American automaker made it into the black (just) at its troubled Chrysler division during Q3, citing stringent cost-cutting and a less frantic market than expected for margin-eroding sales incentives. The company reported a profit of €147 million ($173.73m; £102.32m) and also reiterated its goal of a full-year profit of €5 billion for the entire group, which includes Mercedes-Benz. Chrysler, however, might fall short, given that it continues to languish in its US home market. After a $1 billion loss in the second quarter, analysts estimate Chrysler must turn a profit of €650 million in Q4 to erase all the red ink. Overall, the group reported operating profit of €1.25 billion, down 19% year-on-year. Sales fell 5% to €34.5 billion.
Stronger-than-expected net income and revenues were reported for the fiscal first quarter, courtesy of a sales surge in consumer PCs and servers. Second quarter and full year guidance would be higher than previously expected. Net income was up 28% to $2.61 billion (€2.21bn; £1.54bn), while revenue at $8.22bn rose 6% year-on-year. But analysts, as ever in lugubrious mode, were fazed by a decline in unearned revenue, down by some $700m to $2bn. Microsoft attributed this in part to distractions caused by a plague of computer virus and worm attacks.
• Royal Dutch Shell
The world's third-largest listed energy group surprised analysts and disappointed investors with third-quarter earnings that were well below expectations. Net profit, adjusted to reflect the current cost of supply, was $2.59 billion (€2.19bn; £1.53bn), up 16% year-on-year from $2.24bn but far short of analysts' forecasts of $3bn-$3.5bn. Commented UBS Warburg analyst Neil Perry: "You will not see Shell pushing accounting rules; you get the numbers without any dressing at all and that's why they were weaker than expected at first glance."
The US media giant posted solid Q3 growth in its cable businesses despite continued weakness in its entertainment and outdoor-advertising divisions. For the three months to September 30, Viacom reported a profit of $699.6 million (€591.94m; £411.99m), up year-on-year from $640.3m. Revenue rose 4.6% to a record $6.6bn which, along with earnings growth, was roughly in line with Wall Street expectations - lowered after the company revised its forecast late last month. Operating income rose 7% to $1.38bn, boosted by $40m in insurance payments related to business lost after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Analysts described the numbers as good but unimpressive.
Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff