The 3M Co., which makes Post-it notes, industrial products, and construction materials, said Thursday that its fourth-quarter net income rose 3.9 percent as growing profits in health care and consumer goods offset declines in other areas.
The company’s businesses cover a wide range of industries and it gets its sales from all over the globe, so its results are a closely-watched economic bellwether.
The Maplewood, Minn.-based company earned $991 million, or $1.41 per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31. That matched analysts’ expectations. A year ago it earned $954 million, or $1.35 per share.
Revenue rose 4 percent to $7.39 billion. Analysts expected $7.17 billion.
The company affirmed its 2013 profit guidance of $6.70 to $6.95 per share. Analysts expect $6.86 per share.
Among other earnings reports Thursday:
» Microsoft said its fourth-quarter earnings slipped 4 percent, despite a lift from its latest version of Windows.
The results are the first to include Windows 8. The program is a dramatic overhaul of the Microsoft Corp. operating system that powers most PCs. Windows 8 came out Oct. 26 with slightly more than two months left in Microsoft’s fiscal second quarter.
Although the Windows 8 sales haven’t been as impressive as investors hoped, revenue in Microsoft’s Windows division climbed 24 percent from the previous year.
Microsoft earned $6.4 billion, or 76 cents per share, during the final three months of the year. That was down from $6.6 billion, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier.
The company’s total revenue rose 3 percent from last year to $21.5billion.
» Starbucks Corp., the world’s largest coffee-shop operator, said profit rose 13 percent in its fiscal first quarter, meeting analysts’ estimates, as sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa declined for the second straight quarter.
Net income increased to $432.2million, or 57 cents a share, from $382.1 million, or 50 cents, a year earlier, the Seattle-based company said in a statement.— Lee Enterprises Inc., the publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Lincoln Journal Star and other newspapers, reported flat net income in its fiscal first quarter. The company earned $14.6 million, or 28 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 30. In the same period a year earlier, it also earned $14.6 million but its earnings per share totaled 32 cents because it had fewer outstanding shares.
Excluding one-time items, Lee would have earned $10.5 million, 20 cents per share in the latest quarter, down from adjusted earnings of $16.8 million, or 37cents per share, a year ago. Lee said this year’s adjusted results were hurt by higher interest costs. Lee said its interest expense rose to $21.8 million from $15.3million.
Revenue fell 3 percent to $185.5million from $192 million a year ago. Advertising revenue fell 6 percent to $128.7 million from $137.3 million. Digital advertising revenue increased 4.8 percent to $16.3 million. Circulation revenue rose 4 percent to $46.2 million from $44.5 million. That figure includes digital subscriptions.
» The parent company of United Airlines is reporting a $620 million loss in the fourth quarter as passengers stayed away following its problems earlier in the year with integrating Continental.
It posted a full-year loss of $723million, too, almost wiping out its $840 million profit from 2011.
The fourth-quarter loss worked out to $1.87 per share. Excluding special items the loss would have been 58 cents per share, matching expectations of analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Superstorm Sandy cut $85million from profits in 2012’s final quarter.
A year ago United Continental Holdings Inc. lost $138 million, or 42 cents per share.
» Southwest Airlines Co. said fourth-quarter earnings fell by nearly half on higher spending for fuel, labor and maintenance. The airline’s revenue rose slightly, however, as the average fare climbed almost $8 higher than a year ago.
Southwest also said bookings for the first three months of 2013 look strong. It said that based on bookings and ticket prices so far, a key revenue measure should rise by 2 percent to 3 percent in January compared with the same month last year.
Southwest, the nation’s fourth-biggest airline, said that net income was $78 million, or 11 cents per share. That’s down from $152million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items such as fuel contracts, the net income would have been 9 cents per share, beating the 7-cents-per-share forecast among analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Revenue ticked up 1.6 percent to $4.17 billion but fell short of the $4.20 billion that analysts expected.
» South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. reported its lowest quarterly profit in nearly two years due to lackluster car sales at home and a surge in the local currency that made it less competitive with Japanese automakers.
South Korea’s largest automaker earned 1.89 trillion won ($1.77billion) in the October-December quarter, down 5.5percent over a year earlier.
The result was below the median analyst forecast of 2.05 trillion won, according to FactSet. It was also the automaker’s smallest profit since the first quarter of 2011. Hyundai’s shares fell 4.6percent in Seoul after the earnings release.
Hyundai put aside 240 billion won ($224 million) during the fourth quarter as compensation for American buyers after U.S. authorities found Hyundai overstated gas mileages. Hyundai said the estimate is based on $82 per vehicle compensated for 10 years.
Sales rose 11 percent over a year earlier to 22.72 trillion won while operating profit fell 12 percent to 1.83 trillion won.
» Nokia Corp. has reported a fourth-quarter net profit of (euro) 202 million ($270 million) compared with a net loss of more than $1 billion a year earlier, but revenue in the period fell 20percent to (euro) 8 billion from a year earlier.
The ailing Finnish company gave a poor outlook, saying it expects operating margins in the first quarter 2013 to be “approximately negative 2 percent, plus or minus four percentage points,” citing increased competition as it struggles against the dominance of market leaders Samsung and Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
Nokia said it sold 15.9 million smartphones in the quarter, down from 19.6 million a year earlier.
» The launch of the iPhone 5 helped AT&T attract more new customers in the holiday quarter than it has in three years, but it posted a big loss because of an annual adjustment to its pension obligations.
AT&T Inc. said it added a net 780,000 new customers on contract-based plans from October to December, its best result in three years.
The Dallas-based company’s quarterly loss was $3.86 billion, or 68 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $6.68 billion, or $1.12 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, AT&T earned 44 cents per share, 2cents short of the average analyst estimate as polled by FactSet.
Revenue was $32.6 billion, up a hair from $32.5 billion a year ago. It slightly exceeded analyst estimates of $32.2 billion.