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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Banking, Coffee, Movies, and Chips: Another Spate of Positive Earnings

Q1 2010 earnings season is in full swing and businesses continue their flurry of better than expected reports to start the new year.

Bank sector earnings continued strong with Morgan Stanley reporting strong profits.  The New York-based  investment firm posted a first-quarter profit of $1.78 billion compared with a loss of $177 million a year ago. Sales more than tripled to $9.08 billion.

Coffee profits were steaming in Q1 for Starbucks.  The firm reported on Wednesday that quarterly profit rose more than eight-fold, as more customers visited its U.S. locations — and on average spent more on each visit.  "I think the trends we're seeing in the business are real and sustainable," CFO Troy Alstead told The Associated Press.

Netflix continued its winning ways Wednesday, reporting first-quarter financial results that handily beat expectations.  The company's net income grew 44% to $32.3 million on revenue that rose 25% to $493.7 million.  Netflix ended the quarter with nearly 14 million subscribers -- up 35% compared with a year ago -- and said it expects to end the year with as many as 17.3 million, up from its previous estimate of 16.3 million.

And it is not just Intel, that is enjoying a surge in semiconductor chip demand.  Hynix, the world's second-largest producer of computer memory chips posted a net profit of 822 billion won ($742 million) in the three months ended March 31, sharply reversing from a net loss of 1.18 trillion won a year earlier.

The the montra in this earnings season is clear.  Companies are consistently demonstrating that the economic conditions driving their businesses are improving, and that their forecast data points to an ongoing theme of accelerated growth in 2010.

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