One after another, several of the nation's largest companies came out this morning with lousy third-quarter results and tepid outlooks for coming quarters. The July-September period shapes up to be one of the worst since the financial crisis in 2008 and Wall Street is taking note, with the Dow down about 225 points. Europe is being cited as one reason for the lower numbers. Among the casualties (via WSJ):
--DuPont reported a 98 percent drop in net income and announced 1,500 job cuts as part of a restructuring.
--UPS earnings were down 56 percent (restructuring charges related to pensions) and it reduced full-year estimates.
--3M announced an increase in earnings, but not up to expectations. Also, guidance was cut for the rest of the year.
--Xerox reported a 12 percent drop in earnings, the result of lagging equipment sales.
--United Technologies lowered its sales forecast for the year.
One company that had a decent quarter: Coach, which reported a 40 percent sales increase in China (high-enders can't seem to get enough of its designer handbags and shoes).