MICROSOFT EARNINGS EXCEED FORECASTS.
Microsoft Corp.'s profits rose 52 percent in the latest quarter, helped by continued strong computer sales, the software company said Wednesday after stock markets had closed.
Microsoft reported record net income of $1.13 billion or 85 cents a share on a diluted basis for the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with net income of $740 million or 57 cents a share a year earlier.
Revenues totaled $3.59 billion, up 34 percent from the $2.68 billion a year ago.
The profit outpaced analysts' consensus estimates, which had forecast about 82 cents a share.
Microsoft said revenues from Southeast Asia and the Far East fell 8 percent from the previous quarter and that economic weakness in the region clouds the outlook for this year. Microsoft said European revenues rose 33 percent from a year earlier and that software sales to computer makers rose 40 percent.
Microsoft wasn't the only major company to announce quarterly earnings Wednesday that analysts looked to for any affect of the Asian financial crisis. Among the others:
The Boeing Co., still struggling with production problems, said Wednesday it would take a one-time charge of $1.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 1997 to cover the costs of phasing out assembly lines at McDonnell Douglas, the company it acquired last August.
BankAmerica Corp. said fourth-quarter earnings rose 8.7 percent, meeting analyst forecasts, as gains in the U.S. overshadowed a drop in trading revenue from Asia's tumbling financial markets.
Caterpillar Inc.'s fourth-quarter earnings rose 18 percent, topping estimates, as strong overall sales helped the world's largest maker of construction equipment overcome a slowdown in business in some Southeast Asian countries.
Northrop Grumman Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings rose 79 percent because strong deliveries of commercial airlines parts and business jet planes more than offset lower sales of the B-2 bomber and F-18 fighter.
Compaq Computer Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings rose 37 percent as the world's largest personal computer maker sold more high-profit machines and said it's weathering the Asian economic crisis.