Earnings Roundup: Profits Fall for Exxon (XOM), Pepsi (PEP)

It hasn’t been a good morning for companies reporting earnings.

Exxon (NYSE: XOM), Pepsi (NYSE: PEP) and United Continental (NYSE: UAL) all reported first-quarter earnings that were down from a year ago. United Continental actually lost money.

Among big names reporting today, only UPS (NYSE: UPS) posted profits that were higher than they were during the first quarter a year ago.

Here’s a closer look at this morning’s earnings reports:

  • Exxon: A day after increasing its dividend to an all-time high, Exxon’s first-quarter earnings fell 11% and were shy of analyst expectations. While revenue increased 8.8%, profits of $9.45 billion trailed both the $10.65 billion the big oil company made a year ago and the $9.79 billion analysts were expecting. Oil prices are way up, but production declined to its lowest level since 2008. But the company still had plenty of cash on hand to increase its dividend 21%.
  • Pepsi: Slowing sales of its Pepsi-Cola drink helped push first-quarter earnings down 1.4%. Pepsi-Cola is now the No. 3 soda behind Coke (NYSE: KO) products Coca-Cola and Diet Coke, the latter of which just surpassed it. While its overall sales have grown, higher commodity costs have cut down on margins. The stock has fallen a modest 0.4% in early trading.
  • United Continental: Those high oil prices I mentioned earlier? They didn’t help airlines much last quarter. United Continental’s earnings are evidence of that. The parent holding company of United Airlines posted a $448 million loss. Escalating fuel prices were only part of the story, however. Costs tied to the recent merger between United and Continental Airlines weighed heavily on earnings too. United Continental wasn’t alone in its weak earnings among airline companies. Delta (NYSE: DAL) and U.S. Air (NYSE: LCC) also posted first-quarter losses.
  • UPS: This was the one bright spot among this morning’s grim earnings reports. The global package delivery company saw profits rise 6% for the quarter to $1.00 per share. However, analysts were estimating profits of $1.02 per share, pushing the stock down 3.5% in early trading.
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