A number of companies released third-quarter earnings reports Wednesday, and the results ranged from unexpected losses to unexpected profits. The rundown:
Cost pressures, competition from wine and spirits and a legal settlement hurt the nation's largest brewer, and Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.'s third-quarter profits fell 24 percent, missing Wall Street predictions.
The maker of Budweiser and Bud Light reported earnings of $518 million, or 66 cents per share, for the quarter ending Sept. 30, down from $684 million, or 85 cents per share, a year ago. Without a one-time charge from settling litigation with a beer wholesaler, the company said its earnings would have dropped 8.2 percent to $623 million, or 78 cents per share.
Wall Street had expected earnings of 80 cents per share, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Financial.
Sprint Nextel Corp. posted a third-quarter profit for its first quarter since Sprint purchased Nextel Communications Inc. in August for $35 billion to create the nation's third-largest wireless carrier.
The company, based in Reston, Va., with operational headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., reported earnings of $516 million, or 23 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.9 billion, or $1.32 per share, during the same quarter a year ago.
Revenue increased 35 percent to $9.3 billion from $6.9 billion in the year-ago period.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected earnings of 38 cents per share on revenue of $10.97 billion.
Boeing Co.'s third-quarter profits more than doubled thanks to a tax gain that more than offset the impact of an airplane assembly workers' strike, but a lackluster performance by its long-stellar defense business disappointed Wall Street.
Boeing raised its estimates for 2005 and 2006 earnings as it announced a $1.01 billion profit for the third quarter. However, Boeing also reported an 11 percent decline in revenue from military and space contracts and acknowledged slowing growth and a cautious outlook for the defense unit, its biggest.
Applebee's International Inc reported a 23 percent drop in third-quarter profits.
For the three months ending Sept. 25, the Overland Park-based chain reported earnings of $22.1 million, or 28 cents per share, compared to $28.6 million, or 34 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected earnings of 33 cents per share on revenue of $312.4 million.
Shares of OfficeMax Inc. slid Wednesday after the nation's third largest office-supplies retailer said it swung to a third-quarter loss, mostly from the sale of its paper and forest products units last year.
Itasca, Ill.-based OfficeMax posted a net loss of $3.9 million, or 7 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 24, versus $62.2 million, or 64 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales dropped 37 percent to $2.29 billion from $3.65 billion.
The prior-year results include the company's former paper, forest products and timberland assets, which OfficeMax sold to private investors last year for $3.7 billion.
ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest integrated oil and gas company, said third-quarter profit surged 89 percent, reflecting high prices for crude oil and natural gas after one of the worst hurricane seasons in memory slammed the heart of the nation's oil industry.
The Houston-based company's earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30 were $3.8 billion, or $2.68 per share, topping the average Wall Street estimate of $2.57 per share, according to a Thomson Financial survey of analysts. Results were nearly double those of a year ago, which reached $2 billion, or $1.43 per share.
Oklahoma City-based oil and gas producer Kerr-McGee Corp. saw an even bigger jump with net income of $359.3 million, or $3.09 per share, up from $7.4 million, or 5 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2004.
Amazon.com Inc.'s shares tumbled nearly 14 percent Wednesday after the Internet retailer startled Wall Street with a soft sales outlook for the holiday season.
The Seattle-based company said its net income fell to $30 million, or 7 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, from $54 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier.
The income slump came despite a rise in revenue. The company said net sales increased to $1.86 billion in the third quarter, up 27 percent from $1.46 billion last year.
But Amazon also said it is projecting sales of $2.86 billion to $3.16 billion for the quarter ending Dec. 31. The mean estimate, $3.01 billion, falls below the average Wall Street estimate of $3.08 billion in revenue at a time when Americans traditionally flood stores for Christmas gift buying.