News: Analysis & Commentary: CORPORATE PROFITS
THIS COULD BE AS GOOD AS 1995 GETS
Is this what a soft landing feels like? Profits were up a robust 24% on an 11% revenue gain in BUSINESS WEEK's flash report on the first quarter. Ford's 71% profit jump was a surprise, especially with U.S. car sales softer overall. Ford was able to make more money by selling high-profit Explorer sport-utility trucks and Windstar minivans. Over at Coke, the weaker dollar helped drive up soft-drink results: Profits were 22% higher on 15% sales growth. More surprises from General Electric, where its plastics and appliance units and NBC each generated double-digit profit increases, leading to a 13% earnings gain. Eastman Kodak's 81% profit jump caught Wall Street off guard, too. Its core film business registered 27% profit growth and benefited from favorable currency exchange rates. Turnaround of the quarter? Digital Equipment. Riding strong Alpha computer sales, DEC made $73.7 million, a major improvement over last year's big loss. Soft landing, indeed.