Wednesday’s Early Market Winners: Recognize These Companies?

AOL Inc.There has been a flurry of key earnings reports handed out over the last 12-15 hours – since Tuesday’s market close – and there is still a laundry list of reports still to come, but the early returns have definitely produces some mixed results, especially with many of the most recognizable companies. Let us first take a quick look at the winners so fa Wednesday – those who exceeded expectations.

AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL), also known as America Online, is one of the top winners of the day after announcing its quarterly earnings report and showing revenues had beaten estimates my nearly $12 million ($531 million). AOL, Inc., reported its revenue drop of 2 percent over the same quarter in 2011 was the smallest drop in seven years and showed signs of progress. As a result of the news, AOL stock was up 5.5 percent i the early moments Wednesday to $29 per share. This is good news for hedge funds like Jeffrey Smith’s Starboard Value LP, which was invested $93 million deep in AOL, Inc., stock at the end of March (tops among all hedge funds).

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) also reported more favorable-than-expected earnings, with its revenue topping estimates by $50 million. Revenue ($9.73 billion) for Delta Air Lines, Inc., was 6.3 percent higher than in the same quarter of 2011 and the stock spiked 7 percent prior to the market opening, and was continuing to add to gains, up an additional 1 percent early Wednesday to jut under $9.50 a share. This is a win for top hedge-fund investor Ken Heebner and Capital Growth Management, which had a $197 million play in Delta Air Lines, Inc., stock at the end of March.

Related to aircraft, The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) did well in making airplanes during its most recent quarter, according to its earnings report released Wednesday morning. The Boeing Company reported earnings-per-share beating estimates by 16 cents ($1.27) and revenue listed at $20 billion (21 percent higher than Q2 2011) topped estimates by $630 million. Net profit for Boeingrose nearly 3 percent, and the stock price jumped 4 percent before the market opened, and was adding about another 1.5 percent to the price during trading hours to just north of $73 per share. Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management is likely the big winner here among hedge funds, having a $383 million play in The Boeing Company at the end of March.

Caterpillar, Inc. (NYSE:CAT), considered one of the benchmark companies in determining economic health, reported strong earnings in the last quarter, with EPS ($2.54) beating estimates by 24 cents and revenues ($17.4 billion) exceeding expectations by $290 million. Revenues were up 22 percent over Q2 of 2011 and net profits were up 67 percent. Caterpillar, Inc., stock spiked 5 percent pre-market and has been adding to gains Wednesday, up an additional 2 percent to north of $83 a share. One can bet that Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management fund likes this news, like the Boeing news, as Fisher had $423 million invested in Caterpillar at the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) was a winner in terms of exceeding expectations in its earnings, but the stock price doesn’t reflect the positive news. Ford Motor Company posted an EPS of 30 cents, which beat estimates by 1 cent, and revenues of $33.3 billion beat estimates by $1.13 billion. However, Ford Motor Company admitted possible losses of $1 billion in Europe this year and noted net income was down nearly 60 percent over Q2 of 2011. The stock was up, then down and continues down this morning, off almost 1 percent at just south of $9 per share. This does not bode well for Donald Chiboucis’ Columbus Circle Investors, which had $144 million invested in Ford stock at the end of March.

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