US companies are reaping star-spangled profits

Brisk business at home is overcoming slack results abroad for several big-name domestic corporations.

By Jonathan Berr Apr 24, 2013 12:23PM
Image: American Eagle (© Steve Allen/Brandx Pictures/Photolibrary)Ford (F),  Procter & Gamble (PG) and Whirlpool (WHR)  are among the latest Fortune 500 companies to benefit from having strong U.S. earnings offset weaknesses in the rest of the world.

Ford, the second-largest U.S. automaker, reported $2.7 billion profit in North America, its highest level in more than a decade, thanks to the surging popularity of the Ford Fusion.

Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble bragged in its earnings release that it "held or grew value" in the U.S. among businesses representing two-thirds of its sales. Chief financial officer Jon Moeller noted "broad strength across the U.S." in an interview with CNBC.

Appliance maker Whirlpool reported that operating profit in North America surged 44% in the quarter to $218 million, as it benefited from cost-cutting and increased sales of more expensive products.

Shares of Ford rose in early Wednesday trading because its results surpassed Wall Street estimates. However, investors found Procter & Gamble's and Whirlpool's reports disappointing overall, and their shares traded down. Whether growth in the U.S. will continue to bolster corporate profits as it has done so far is tough to say, particularly as automatic government spending cuts known as sequester begin to weigh on growth.

For now, the U.S. is expected to perform better than other parts of the world, especially Europe. U.S. gross domestic product growth in the first quarter is expected to be 3.5%, moderating to 2% in the second, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In contrast, the OECD sees the eurozone's three largest economies -- Germany, France and Italy -- growing 0.4% in the first quarter and 1% in the second quarter. It expects the U.K. to grow by 0.5% during the first quarter and 1.4% in the second quarter.

To make matters worse, growth in China, another key market for U.S. companies, is starting to slow. But at least for now, many American corporations are making up for weakness elsewhere with some home-grown strength.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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4Comments
Apr 24, 2013 2:58PM
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The Dow is up over 100% in 4 years.Thank me, I voted for Obama.

Apr 24, 2013 1:41PM
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5 years of success after Bush's 8 years almost put us to rest
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The crash is coming folks. Soon no one will trade in US dollars rather they will use the Chinese RMB which is a more logical and cheaper currency to trade in as it is not dropping like a rock all the time.

 

When you make a contract in dollars and get paid half a year later when you make the product your profit margin has disappeared when the dollar drops 10 percent or more in value during the 6 months.

Half the world now trades with Chines in RMB soon all the world will and the dollar will fall to just about zero value.

Get ready for the crash folks it's comes in months.

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