The companies that reported earnings before the markets open on Wednesday are: Boeing, ConocoPhillips, Abbott, General Dynamics, United Technologies, Southern Co., Hess, Xerox, Rockwell Automation and Wellpoint.
* Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) established 2011 earnings forecast at between $3.80 and $4.00 per share, reflecting the recently revised 787 schedule. The company said fourth quarter net earnings fell to $1.16 billion or $1.56 per share from $1.27 billion or $1.75 per share in the year-ago quarter. Total revenue fell to $16.55 billion from $17.94 billion. Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.11 per share, on revenue of $16.97 billion. The 787 program experienced an in-flight electrical incident on a test flight in November and the first delivery is now expected in the third quarter of 2011, BA said. For 2011, the company expects revenue of $68 billion to $71 billion, while analysts expect BA to earn $4.54 a share on revenue of $69.9 billion. The stock closed Tuesday's regular trading at $72.24.
* ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) said quarterly adjusted earnings rose, driven by higher commodity prices and global refining margins. Adjusted earnings increased to $1.9 billion or $1.32 per share from $1.8 billion or $1.20 per share in the same period of last year. ConocoPhillips reported earnings of $2.0 billion or $1.39 per share, compared with $1.3 billion or $0.86 per share for the same period in 2009. Quarterly earnings included $718 million in gains from North America Exploration and Production (E&P) asset sales and LUKOIL share dispositions, it said. Production from the E&P segment for the fourth quarter fell to 1.73 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day from 1.83 million BOE per day, due mainly to normal field decline, primarily in North America and Europe, and asset dispositions, COP said. Shares of COP ended Tuesday's regular trading at $67.48.
* Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) reported a 10 percent increase in fourth quarter profit, excluding items, driven by a 22 percent rise in pharmaceutical sales and 13.7 percent growth in vascular products sales. The company expects another year of double-digit ongoing earnings-per-share growth in 2011. Net earnings, excluding items, rose to $1.30 per share for the fourth quarter from $1.18 per share. Sales rose to $9.97 billion from $8.79 billion. Analysts expected profit of $1.29 per share on revenue of $9.89 billion. GAAP earnings fell 6 percent to $1.44 billion or 92 cents a share. For 2011, Abbott expects ongoing earnings per share of $4.54 to $4.64, while analysts expect $4.63 per share. Abbott also announced a restructuring in its U.S. pharmaceutical business to streamline commercial and manufacturing operations, improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Abbott expects total specified items associated with this cost reduction initiative over the next several years of around $295 million. The stock ended Tuesday's trading at $47.96.
* General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) posted a better-than-expected quarterly earnings as revenue rose 9 percent. The Falls Church, Virginia-based company reported fourth quarter earnings from continuing operations of $729 million or $1.91 per share, up from $618 million or $1.58 per share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $8.6 billion from $7.9 billion. Analysts expected net income of $1.85 per share on revenue of $8.9 billion. For 2011, GD expects earnings to be in the range of $7.00 to $7.10 per share, while analysts expect $7.09 a share. GD closed Tuesday's regular trading at $74.17.
* United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) posted a higher fourth quarter profit on strong sales growth, mainly in the commercial aerospace aftermarket and shorter cycle Carrier businesses. The Hartford, Connecticut-based company posted earnings of $1.2 billion or $1.31 per share, up from $1.07 billion or $1.15 a share in the year-ago quarter. Net sales rose 6 percent to $14.9 billion, including 6 percent of organic growth. Analysts expected profit of $1.29 per share on revenue of $14.75 billion. For 2011, the company still sees earnings growth of 7 percent to 13 percent with earnings per share of $5.05 to $5.35 on sales of $56 billion to $57 billion. The stock ended Tuesday's trading at $81.73.
* Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) reported a fall in quarterly profit, hit by increased operations and maintenance expenses, reflecting a return to more normal spending levels and accruals to the natural disaster reserve at Alabama Power. The company posted fourth quarter profit of $153.5 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with earnings of $248.3 million, or 31 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2009. Total revenue was $3.77 billion from $3.5 billion. Analysts expected earnings of 18 cents a share on revenue of $3.36 billion. SO ended Tuesday's regular trading at $38.46.
* Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES) said fourth quarter earnings fell to $58 million or 18 cents a share from $358 million or $1.10 per share in the same period of last year. The New York-based company said quarterly results included an after-tax charge of $289 million relating to the impairment of its equity investment in HOVENSA. Sales and other operating revenue fell to $9 billion from $8.7 billion. Oil and gas production was 420,000 barrels per day, up from 415,000 in the fourth quarter 2009. Oil and gas proved reserves were 1,537 million barrels of oil equivalent at the end of 2010, compared to 1,437 million barrels at the end of 2009, it said. The stock ended Tuesday's trading at $77.17.
* Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) posted fourth quarter adjusted earnings of $417 million or 29 cents a share, up from $235 million or 26 cents a share a year-earlier. Revenue rose 42 percent to nearly $6 billion. Analysts expected profit of 28 cents per share on revenue of $5.98 billion. Fourth quarter net income attributable to Xerox was $171 million or $0.12 per share, down from $180 million or $0.20 per share. On an adjusted basis, the company expects first-quarter earnings in the range of 20 to 22 cents per share, and 2011 earnings to be $1.05 to $1.10 per share. The stock ended Tuesday's trading at $11.40.
* Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) lifted its fiscal 2011 earnings forecast on higher expected revenue as it reported a first quarter profit that doubled from last year on strong sales growth in the quarter across all regions, led by emerging markets. Net income was $150.1 million or $1.04 per share, compared with $76.6 million or $0.53 per share in the first quarter of fiscal 2010. Revenue rose 28 percent to $1.37 billion. Analysts expected profit of $0.88 per share on revenue of $1.30 billion. The company now projects revenue for fiscal 2011 to range from $5.5 billion to $5.7 billion, and that its raised its earnings per share guidance to $4.30 to $4.60. Shares of ROK closed Tuesday's trading at $74.69.
* Wellpoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP) reported a 80 percent fall in fourth quarter profit, as the year-ago quarter benefitted from a gain on the sale of NextRx. Earnings fell to $548.8 million or $1.40 per share from $2.7 billion or $5.95 per share last year, which included net after-tax income of $2.2 billion or $4.79 per share. Adjusted net income increased to $1.33 per share from $1.16 per share, above analysts estimates of $1.22 per share. Operating revenue declined 4.3 percent to about $14.4 billion, mainly due to the conversion of a large municipal group to a self-funded arrangement during the second quarter of 2010, and the transfer of UniCare business in Texas and Illinois, it said. For 2011, the company sees earnings of at least $6.30 per share, below expectations of $6.58 per share. The stock ended Tuesday's regular trading at $61.70.