Wall Street fell on Wednesday, as investors weighed a series of mixed corporate earnings from Caterpillar Inc., The Boeing Company and Motorola Solutions Inc.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) reported weaker-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as the company issued a fiscal third-quarter profit of $946 million, or $1.45 a share, compared with $1.7 billion, or $2.54 a share, a year ago. Wall Street had expected earnings of $1.66 a share, according to analysts polled by Reuters. Revenue declined 18 percent to $13.4 billion.
"With $11 billion coming off the top line, it has been a painful year and has required wide ranging and substantial actions across the company,” said Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman. “We've continued to improve our operational performance this year, and it's unfortunate that the improvements we've made have been far overshadowed by the sales decline in mining.”
The world's largest maker of earth-moving equipment also slashed its outlook for 2014 sales, in addition to revising full-year 2013 profit forecast. Caterpillar revised its 2013 outlook and now expects sales and revenues to be about $55 billion, with profit per share of about $5.50, compared with its previous outlook of $56 to $58 billion, with profit per share of about $6.50 at the middle of that range.
“The preliminary 2014 outlook for sales and revenues is flat with 2013 in a plus or minus 5 percent range,” the company said in its third-quarter earnings statement.
On Wednesday, shares of Caterpillar tumbled 5.66 percent to $84.12 in midday trading.
Also on Wednesday, The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) said fiscal third-quarter earnings came in at $1.16 billion, or $1.51 per share, compared with nearly $1 billion, or $1.35 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings for the quarter increased 16 percent to $1.80 a share, topping Wall Street forecasts. Revenue rose 11 percent to $22.13 billion on higher commercial deliveries.
Wall Street had expected the company to issue core earnings of $1.55 a share and revenue of $21.68 billion, according to Reuters.
"Consistently strong operating performance is driving higher earnings, revenue and cash flow as we deliver on our record backlog and return increased value to shareholders," said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney. “Despite the uncertainty of the U.S. defense market, overall our customer-focused business strategies and disciplined execution on our programs are producing the results we expect, and our strong year-to-date performance and positive outlook allow us to increase our 2013 guidance for earnings and operating cash flow."
Boeing raised its full-year core earnings forecast to between $6.50 a share and $6.65 a share on strong performance, compared with a previous outlook of $6.20 a share to $6.40 a share.
Boeing rose 4.07 percent to $127.46 in afternoon trading.
Motorola Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MSI) said fiscal third-quarter profit increased to $307 million, or $1.16 per share, compared with $206 million, or 72 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, earnings for the quarter came in at $1.32 per share, as revenue fell 2 percent to $2.11 billion, below Wall Street estimates.
“In the third quarter, we expanded operating margins, reduced costs and delivered double-digit EPS growth,” said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions. “In addition, we are on track to achieve 18 percent operating margin for the full year.”
Motorola shares climbed 2.61 percent to $62.65 on Wednesday.
After the closing bell, notable companies reporting third-quarter earnings include AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), E Trade Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: ETF), Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), Citrix Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS), CMS Energy Corporation (NYSE: CM) and Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC).
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 76.46 points or 0.49 percent, to 15,391.20. The S&P 500 lost 10.39 points or 0.59 percent, to 1,744.27. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 28.19 points or 0.72 percent, to 3,901.20.