didn't exactly kick off third-quarter earnings season with a bang
yesterday. But the earnings picture is looking a bit sunnier this
morning as two other big-name companies posted healthy
Yum! Brands (
both exceeded expectations in their Q3 earnings reports, giving
their stocks a nice boost.
Here's a closer look at how these three companies fared in the
- Alcoa has long been a stock-market bellwether not only
because it's the first major company to report earnings after
every quarter but also because, as an aluminum producer, it
usually offers a good gauge on how other companies are faring.
It's difficult to get a clear gauge this time, however, as
Alcoa's results were mixed. The company's third-quarter
earnings were rather pedestrian at three cents a share
excluding items. However, that was better than the flat quarter
most analysts were expecting. Including items, Alcoa's earnings
were much bleaker, as the company swung to a $143 million loss
- a steep drop-off from the $172 million the company made in
the third quarter last year. That was enough to send Alcoa
shares tumbling 3.8% in early trading today.
- Costco shares have climbed 4.6% after the bulk retailer
increased sales by 21% last quarter. Earnings of $1.39 a share
outpaced expectations of $1.31 a share.
- Yum! Brands reported a 23% improvement in third-quarter
profits from a year ago. The company that owns
KFC, Pizza Hut
posted earnings of 99 cents a share, excluding items - a couple
pennies better than the 97 cents a share analysts were
projecting. The improved sales, at least at Taco Bell, are in
line with a prediction made by renowned hedge funder
last week. It was enough to push the stock up nearly 9% to a
five-month high of around $71.50 a share.