Earnings Reports for Oct. 18

AOL Surpasses Analyst Estimates

America Online Inc., the world’s largest Internet services provider, said fiscal first quarter earnings doubled from a year earlier as subscriber, advertising and e-commerce revenues drove growth.

Dulles, Va.-based AOL said earnings, excluding items, rose to $340 million, or 14 cents a share, compared to $182 million, or 7 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Revenue climbed 34 percent to $2 billion, up from $1.5 billion a year earlier. Advertising and e-commerce revenue rose 80 percent to $649 million, within analysts’ estimates. The company added 1.4 million net new subscribers in the quarter, for a total of 24.6 million members worldwide.

Wall Street analysts had expected AOL to earn 13 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

AOL’s merger with media giant Time Warner Inc. is still awaiting U.S. regulatory approval.

Net income rose to $345 million, or 13 cents a diluted share, from $181 million, or 7 cents a diluted share the year-earlier period.

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Apple Disappoints Wall Street

Apple Computer Inc. reported earnings that fell slightly short of the analyst forecasts, which had been reduced last month after the company warned of a sales shortfall.

Apple said it earned $108 million or 30 cents per diluted share in the quarter, excluding certain unusual gains.

Most analysts had been forecasting fourth quarter earnings of 31 cents per share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial, which surveys results.

Including all the unusual items, Apple had a net profit of $170 million or 47 cents per diluted share, compared with $111 million or 31 cents per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Apple said revenues rose to $1.87 billion, up 40 percent from the year-ago quarter. Analysts had been forecasting revenues of $1.87 billion.

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Avon Narrowly Beats Street

Avon Products Inc., the direct seller of beauty products, reported a 5 percent rise in third-quarter earnings, narrowly beating Wall Street projections despite weakness in Europe. Avon also said it will be able to achieve earnings per share increases in the range of low -to mid-teens for the year.

The company reported earnings of $93 million, or 39 cents a share, in the three months, ended Sept. 30, up from $88.2 million, or 34 cents per share, in 1999.

Revenues during the quarter increased 7 percent to $1.34 billion from $1.25 billion in the year-ago period.

The results beat Wall Street earnings expectations of 38 cents.

Avon said that sales and profit gains in the U.S., Latin America and in the Asia-Pacific region more than offset a 3 percent sales decline in Europe due to currency weakness.

Avon’s U.S. operations posted a 5 percent sales increase, but stepped up spending on advertising, its e-commerce site and other brand-building initiatives. Total beauty sales were up 9 percent, fueled by the successful launch of Retroactive, a skin care product under the Anew brand. Avon expects Anew to be the best-selling skin care product in the company’s history.

Andrea Jung, Avon’s chief executive, said the company’s launch of a new Internet Web site for its sales representatives, and the development of a new beauty brand called Becoming to be sold at retail starting mid-2001, should represent “significant growth vectors over the long term.”

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Boeing Soars Above Expectations

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