Several prominent companies with headquarters or major operations in Minnesota are reporting lower quarterly earnings today. Most are seeing both profits and sales fall, but not as much as Wall Street analysts thought they would.
The companies represent a broad swath of the economy, from financial services and transportation to manufacturing and medical devices.
The view of the economy from the companies' corner offices was as varied as their industries.
Randall J. Hogan, CEO of Pentair, a maker of water treatment products and metal cases, said "most of our major markets were dismal throughout the first quarter, as many of our customers retrenched in reaction to the global recession."
“Most of our major markets were dismal throughout the first quarter, as many of our customers retrenched in reaction to the global recession.”Randall J. Hogan, CEO of Pentair
Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said "We've seen some signs of stabilization as the revenue environment appears to have bottomed out. But it's still a bit early to call, and we expect to face significant head winds throughout 2009."
Jim Tobin, head of medical device maker Boston Scientific, which employs 6,200 people in Minnesota, said, "While we continue to monitor the potential negative effects of the external economic conditions around the world, to date, we have seen very little impact on our businesses overall."
Richard Davis, CEO of Minneapolis-based US Bancorp, said "We are at the line that the economy starts to show the possibility of recovery late in the year, early in the first part of [next] year."
The share prices of both US Bancorp and Delta Air Lines soared: US Bancorp rose 21 percent to $19.27, and Delta was up 19 percent to $ 8.11.
Delta posted a loss of $794 million, but the underlying numbers were better than investors had expected.
US Bancorp saw earnings shrink by more than half to $529 million. But with the bottom line shrinking less than Wall Street forecast, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner saying the "vast majority" of the nation's banks have enough capital, share prices in the financial sector lifted, carrying US Bancorp with them.
The other companies that reported earnings before the markets closed today all saw their share prices fall.
Health insurer UnitedHealth Group dropped 6 percent to $22.80. The company's profit of $984 million was far better than analysts had forecast, but the company indicated it was facing tougher times ahead.
UnitedHealth officials warned that growing unemployment would keep stripping Americans of health coverage this year.
Pentair's share price fell half a percent to $23.32. The company's profit results fell short of expectations.
Boston Scientific, despite a well-received earnings report, lowered its projected profit for the year. Shares fell about 3 percent to $8.45.
After the markets closed, financial services provider Ameriprise Financial reported a first quarter profit decline of 32 percent to $129 million. Still, the results were far better than Wall Street predicted.
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, a transportation services firm, also reported better results than expected. The $85 million profit was roughly even with the same period a year ago.