Stocks Waver, Ford Profit Jumps

U.S. stocks were mixed in the early trading on Wednesday as investors dealt with a mix of corporate earnings reports  and disappointing durable goods data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 0.81 points to 14,718.65. The S&P  500 index climbed 1.21 points to 1,579.99. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.23 points to 3,269.56.

Ford Motor (NYSE:F) reported quarterly earnings and revenue that surpassed analysts’ expectations on Wednesday as  its North American unit posted its best quarter in more than a decade on the strength of new models. Net income was  $1.6 billion, or 40 cents per share, up from $1.4 billion a year earlier. The automaker posted first-quarter  earnings excluding items of 41 cents per share, up from 39 cents a share in the year-earlier period.Revenue  increased to $35.8 billion from $32.4 billion a year ago.

Procter & Gamble (PG) says its net income rose 6 percent in the fiscal third quarter, beating expectations as the
company cut costs and gained market share in North America and elsewhere. P&G’s net income for the January-to-March  quarter rose to $2.57 billion, or 88 cents per share. That compares with net income of $2.41 billion, or 82 cents  per share last year. Revenue rose 2 percent to $20.6 billion. That fell short of analyst expectations of $20.72  billion.

WellPoint Inc. (WLP)’s first-quarter earnings rose about 3 percent to trump analysts’ expectations. It earned $885.2  million, or $2.89 per share, in the three months that ended March 31. That’s up from $856.5 million, or $2.53 per  share, a year ago, when the company had more shares outstanding. Adjusted earnings totaled $2.94 per share.  Operating revenue jumped nearly 16 percent to $17.55 billion.

Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods recorded their biggest drop in seven months in March and a gauge of  planned business spending rose only modestly, signs of a slowdown in economic activity. Durable goods orders slumped  5.7 percent as demand fell almost across the board, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

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