Earnings: Corning Inc. | Amazon.com | AT&T | DuPont | JetBlue | Northrop Grumman | Lockheed Martin

Corning Inc.'s Profit Rises on Demand for Flat-Screens

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Corning Inc. (GLW), the largest maker of glass for LCD computers and TV monitors, said Tuesday its quarterly profit rose as demand for flat-panel displays grew.

First-quarter net income rose to $257 million, or 16 cents per share, from $250 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed to $1.26 billion from $1.05 billion.

Corning reported earnings excluding one-time items of 27 cents per share. Analysts, on average, had forecast profit of 23 cents per share on that basis and expected revenue of $1.23 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Corning in January disappointed investors with a lower-than-expected first-quarter forecast, which it reiterated a month later, as prices for liquid crystal displays in flat-panel televisions and computer displays fell. The company said last month it was targeting growth in China as an increasing number of display manufacturers set up shop there.

Amazon.com's Quarterly Profit Disappoints

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Tuesday posted a lower quarterly net profit as operating margins narrowed.

The online retailer said that net income in its first quarter fell to $51 million, or 12 cents per share, from $78 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales rose to $2.28 billion from $1.90 billion.

The Seattle-based company, the second-most popular Web commerce site behind eBay Inc., has suffered decelerating sales growth amid increasing competition, while operating margins have narrowed due to higher spending on technology, a boost in hiring and a discount shipping program.

Because Amazon has grown faster than conventional retailers, shares have been valued more in line with Internet stocks than traditional retailers. Shares trade at approximately 41 times estimated 2007 earnings, at a premium to the Standard & Poor's Retailing Index price-to-earnings ratio of 14 and the S&P Consumer Discretionary 25 at nearly 15 times earnings.

AT&T Posts Profit Increase Of 63.3 Percent

NEW YORK - (AP)- AT&T Inc. (T) said Tuesday its earnings rose 63.3 percent in the first quarter, the first period it reported combined results after SBC Communications Inc.'s acquisition of AT&T Corp., which closed late last year.

Net income was $1.445 billion, or 37 cents a share, for the January-March period, up from SBC's earnings of $885 million, or 27 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Excluding the costs of SBC's acquisition of AT&T Corp. and Cingular Wireless LLC's acquisition of AT&T Wireless, earnings were 52 cents a share, beating the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Financial by 3 cents.

Revenue came to $15.8 billion, up 55 percent from $10.2 billion the previous year.

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DuPont Sees Income Fall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - DuPont Co. (DD), the second-largest U.S. chemicals maker, on Tuesday posted lower first-quarter income, hurt by higher prices for energy, restructuring costs, and the adverse effect of a strong dollar.

Net income totaled $817 million, or 88 cents a share, compared with $967 million, or 96 cents, a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, expected the Wilmington, Delaware, company to earn 81 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

DuPont's stock fell 3.4 percent in the first quarter, underperforming the Standard & Poor's Chemicals index whose shares climbed 2.8 pct during the same period.

JetBlue Posts Loss

NEW YORK - (AP) - JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) said Tuesday it swung to a loss in its first quarter on high fuel costs, and the airline announced a "return to profitability" plan.

The company posted a quarterly net loss of $32 million, or 18 cents per share, versus a year-ago profit of $6 million, or 4 cents per share. Revenue rose 31 percent to $490 million from $373 million a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for a loss of 20 cents per share on revenue of $497.9 million.

"We are disappointed to report our second consecutive quarterly loss," David Neeleman, JetBlue's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. "As we face what might be the 'new normal' for fuel prices, we have developed a comprehensive 'Return to Profitability' plan that includes right-sizing capacity, revenue enhancements and cost reductions."

Details of the plan include focusing on medium- and short-haul flights, revamping fare structures and resizing capacity.

For the first quarter, revenue passenger miles increased 24.8 percent from the first quarter of 2005 to 5.5 billion. Yield per passenger mile was 8.37 cents, up 4 percent compared with a year ago. Operating revenue per available seat mile increased 3.3 percent year-over-year to 7.46 cents. Available seat miles grew 27.2 percent to 6.6 billion.

Looking ahead, the Forest Hills, N.Y.-based company said it expects to swing back to a profit in the second quarter and post a net loss for the full year. Analysts expect a 2006 loss of 21 cents on $2.38 billion in revenue.

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Northrop Posts Profit Fall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) said Tuesday first-quarter profit fell slightly, as the U.S. No. 3 defense contractor saw a dip in ship sales.

Northrop, maker of the B-2 stealth bomber, nuclear submarines and unmanned surveillance planes, reported first-quarter profit of $358 million, or $1.02 per share, compared with $409 million, or $1.11 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue fell 4 percent to $7.2 billion, due to lower ship sales.

Wall Street forecast earnings of 99 cents per share on $7.38 billion revenue, according to Reuters Estimates.

Despite the dip in sales, Los Angeles-based Northrop held its forecast for full-year earnings of $4.25 to $4.40 per share on $31 billion revenue. On average, analysts are expecting $4.37 per share profit on $31.3 billion revenue.

Northrop's revenue is set to shrink as it closes down its lower-margin computer system reselling business. In October, the company authorized up to $1.5 billion in stock repurchases, which could mean a buy-back up to 8 percent of its shares outstanding.

Like rivals Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. (BA), Northrop is benefiting from record levels of U.S. defense spending, extra funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more outsourcing of government technology.

However, Northrop's shipbuilding operations in the U.S. Gulf Coast suffered heavy damage and delays from Hurricane Katrina last year.

Lockheed Profit Bests Views

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the No. 1 defense contractor, said Tuesday that quarterly profit rose a greater-than-expected 60 percent on higher sales of information technology services and a one-time gain from selling stock in a satellite operator.

Lockheed, best known for its F-16 fighter jetsand Patriot missiles but focused increasingly on civilian technology, also raised its full-year profit forecast, in line with Wall Street estimates.

The Bethesda, Maryland-based company said first-quarter profit jumped to $591 million, or $1.34 per share, from $369 million, or 83 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue rose 9 percent to $9.2 billion.

That beat Wall Street's average profit estimate of $1.14 per share on revenue of $9.02 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Lockheed, like most of its rivals, is benefiting from record levels of U.S. defense spending, extra funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more outsourcing of government technology projects.

Lockheed, which makes the F-22 Raptor jetand is developing the next generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is also leading the charge among defense companies toward high-tech systems, a growth area as the U.S. government spends more on computerizing civilian, security and intelligence operations.

First-quarter operating profit from its systems and information technology group rose 29 percent to $498 million, helped by sales of equipment for air defense and intelligence programs.

Profit was boosted by a $36 million aftertax gain from selling stock in U.K.-based satellite operator Inmarsat Plc

and a $15 million aftertax gain from selling assets in satellite photo company Space Imaging LLC. Pension costs were also lower than the previous year.

Looking forward, Lockheed raised its full-year 2006 profit forecast to a range of $4.65 to $4.85 per share, up from its previous forecast of $4.50 to $4.75 per share. Wall Street expects $4.77 per share, on average.

The company kept its 2006 revenue forecast unchanged at $38 billion to $39.5 billion. Wall Street expects $39.3 billion.

Lockheed's stock has risen about 19 percent in the past three months, hitting an all-time high this week, broadly in line with the Standard & Poor's Aerospace and Defense index, which is up about 21 percent.

Defense companies, boosted by a record proposed 2007 defense budget, have easily outperformed the S&P 500 index , which is up only 3.5 percent in that time.

Lockheed shares are trading about 15 times forecast 2007 earnings, just below the 16.3 average for its rivals.

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