Earnings Reports for Jan. 18

Caterpillar Posts Increases in Q4, Year-end Earnings

Caterpillar reported a 10 percent boost in fourth-quarter profits today, citing slightly increased sales and better performance from its financial services that also contributed to increased year-end earnings.

The heavy equipment manufacturer reported fourth-quarter earnings of $264 million, up $25 million from the same quarter last year. Earnings per share were 76 cents, up nine cents from fourth-quarter 1999 and easily beating Wall Street's expectations.

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had expected Caterpillar's earnings to be 64 cents per share.

Fourth-quarter sales were $5.11 billion, a $95 million increase over fourth-quarter 1999. The company said sales volume increased 3 percent. Revenues in the Financial Products division, which includes investments, a financing arm and an insurance operation, increased 11 percent.

For fiscal year 2000, Caterpillar reported earnings of $1.05 billion, up $107 million from 1999. Profit per share was $3.02. Full-year revenues were $20.18 billion, up 2 percent from the previous year.

However, Chairman and CEO Glen Barton forecast another challenging year ahead. He said an expected decline in North American sales should be offset by higher sales in other markets, but profits are expected to be 5 to 10 percent lower than 2000.

"In general, many of the markets we serve will continue to be cyclically depressed with excess capacity and ongoing price pressure," he said.

Peoria-based Caterpillar designs and makes mining, construction and agricultural machinery as well as engines for earth-moving and construction machines. It is the world's No. 1 maker of earth-moving machinery.

Caterpillar operates manufacturing plants in 22 countries.


Delta’s Quarterly Earnings Fall 54 Percent

Delta Air Lines, which two weeks ago reported a labor dispute with its pilots would reduce revenues, today said its quarterly earnings declined 54 percent, falling below Wall Street analysts forecasts.

Atlanta-based Delta, the No. 3 U.S. airline, said net income for the quarter ended in December was $79 million, or 60 cents a share, compared with $171 million, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier, excluding special items. Delta is in the process of switching to a calendar year from a fiscal year.

Analysts' consensus forecast was 62 cents a share, according to research firm First Call/Thomson Financial.

Revenues rose to $4.02 billion, from $3.68 billion in the year-earlier period.

Last week, Delta asked a U.S. appeals court for an injunction to stop an alleged work slowdown by a number of its more than 9,000 pilots.


EBay Exceeds Analyst Estimates

Fourth-quarter profits at eBay Inc. beat Wall Street expectations, as the mammoth Internet auction site said it had added a record 3.5 million users in the last three months of 2000.

In the quarter ended Dec. 31, eBay earned $23.9 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with $3.8 million, or 1 cent per share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues rose 81 percent to $134 million.

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial were expecting 7 cents a share.

"We are extremely pleased with the strength of our business and with the tremendous momentum we have going into the new year," said Meg Whitman, eBay's president and CEO.

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