Home appliances maker Whirlpool also posted better-than-expected earnings and stood by its 2013 outlook, but saw a decline in sales in Europe. Container-glass products company Owens-Illinois said profit slumped 32 percent as it was hurt by weaker sales, particularly in Europe.
So far, just over one-third of S&P 500 companies have posted quarterly results, with 68 percent of firms exceeding Wall Street expectations for earnings per share. But just a paltry 40 percent have topped their revenue forecasts, significantly lower than the average 62 percent beat rate, according to the latest data from Thomson Reuters.
The earnings growth rate is coming in much better than expected, now at 3.1 percent from a forecast of about half that. Meanwhile, revenue growth weakened further to 0.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.
(Read More: Earnings: Choppy, but Mostly Good)
"Companies continue to have an unrelenting focus on being efficient," said Matt Kaufler, portfolio manager of the Federated Clover Fund. "It will continue to be a tough revenue environment for the next quarter, and earnings expectation for the year will be pulled in a bit."
Financials and telecom sectors are anticipated to post the strongest earnings growth in the first quarter, while energy and techs are the biggest laggards.
Several major technology companies posted results this week, with largely mixed results.
Widely watched Apple posted top and bottom lines that exceeded Wall Street expectations. The iPhone maker also increased its share-repurchase program to $60 billion and hiked its dividend by 15 percent. Still, analysts turned sour on the company amid worries about slower growth and lower margins. At least 11 brokerages slashed their price target on the tech giant.
(Read More: Apple's Roller-Coaster Ride)
And Apple's supplier Qualcomm raised its full-year revenue forecast amid growing demand for smartphones, but estimates for its full-year earnings were below expectations.