Tuesday morning brought a solid batch of quarterly earnings results for some of the bigger names on the market.
The headliner was Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), the fourth of the six big banks to report first-quarter earnings in 2012. While the world’s largest investment bank saw profits fall 23% year-over-year, earnings per share of $3.92 topped analyst estimates of $3.55 a share. There was also good news for income investors: the bank boosted its quarterly dividend from 35 cents a share all the way to 46 cents a share.
Those factors were enough to push Goldman Sachs up slightly in early trading.
Goldman’s earnings beat made it four for four among the big banks. On Friday JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) both beat first-quarter estimates; Citigroup (NYSE: C) beat estimates yesterday despite declining sales.
Some of the earnings beats among financials can be chalked up to low expectations. But it’s better than falling short of low expectations – and a sign that the banks are at least making gradual, if not substantive, improvements.
Several other companies reported promising earnings this morning. Among the more noteworthy large cap stocks to report were:
- Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO): Earnings rose 7.9%, from 82 cents a share a year ago to 89 cents a share in the first quarter. Higher materials costs cut down on margins, but Coke’s global revenue grew 6% as case volume grew 5%. The earnings growth has boosted Coke shares 2% in early trading, and the stock is fast approaching its 52-week high.
- Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ): Revenue for the health-care and pharmaceuticals products giant was flat, but earnings increased 12% thanks in part to lower expenses. The company reported a profit of $3.9 billion, or $1.41 a share – up from $3.5 billion, or $1.25 a share, a year ago – despite a 5.1% drop in domestic sales. The stock has fallen 1% in early trading.