July 23 - Summary: Apple and AT&T top Wall Street expectations for quarterly sales and profits; Earnings fall at UPS; Wendy's swings to profit; United Technologies powers Dow to record close. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Apple defies worries about the strength of the iPhone. Sales of its most profitable device rose to a record for a June quarter, but demand for the iPad took a hit with sales down 20 percent from a year ago. Total profits topped forecasts and revenues barely exceeded expectations. As for the current quarter: Apple's sales outlook, typically conservative, is lighter than The Street's. AT&T took on more wireless customers but subscriber growth did not match its bigger rival Verizon and costs were up at the No. 2 mobile service provider. Sales and profits came in higher than hoped. In other reports, UPS confirming global customers continue to use cheaper shipping methods. Earnings were down as expected. But Wendy's had a better-than-expected quarter. The No. 2 hamburger chain swung to a quarterly profit and its outlook was more upbeat than rival McDonald's the day before. Sales at Wendy's, however, confirm customers are eating out less. Shares of United Technologies up - with the manufacturing conglomerate optimistic about the year thanks to demand for its aircraft parts... But Travelers fell after better-than-expected earnings were overshadowed by fear the insurer's decision to cut auto premiums will pressure industry premiums. All-in-all, Tuesday's earnings stories were good for the Dow, sending blue chips to a record close but neutral to negative for the rest of the market. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn making one more attempt to block Michael Dell from taking the computer company private. Icahn criticized the offer in a public letter - hoping to sway the vote in his favor. Investors are scheduled to cast that vote on Wednesday. In Europe, a late-day sell off with tech in the driver's seat left markets lower.