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Caterpillar Great; Durable Goods Disappoint

S&P futures dropped 4 points, into negative territory, on higher than expected initial jobless claims for the week and on a rather disappointing December Durable Goods number (down 2.5 percent, a gain of 1.5 percent was consensus), on a larger than expected fall in non defense aircraft. (Market Open Update: Stocks Up Slightly; Boeing Gains, P&G Falls )

Caterpillar earnings of $1.47, beat by 20 cents, although much of the gain (11 cents) was due to lower taxes it was still a good beat. Revenues at $12.68 billion well ahead of consensus of $11.5 billion. 2011 earnings "near" $6.00, above consensus of $5.85. Should open near historic high.

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Elsewhere:

1) Nokia falls 4 percent despite beating estimates in the past quarter ($0.22 vs. $0.18 consensus). The problems: the Finnish handset maker saw declining market share as shipments fell 3 percent year-over-year. In addition, it warned of challenges ahead for its sales and margins, forecasting Q1 sales of EUR 6.8 billion- EUR 7.3 billion.

2) Procter & Gamble falls 2 percent despite topping earnings estimates ($1.13 vs. $1.10 consensus). Sales for the consumer goods firm missed estimates ($21.3 billion vs. $21.6 billion consensus) despite a 6 percent rise in higher volumes, led by double-digit growth in emerging markets. Higher commodity costs combined with lower prices in many key segments squeezed margins.

Margins may be under pressure again in the current quarter. Even though sales are expected to be up 5 percent to 7 percent (ahead of 4.9 percent consensus), earnings are seen between $0.95-$1.00, mostly below Street expectations of $0.99.

3) Colgate-Palmolive beat earnings estimates by a penny, but just like rival P&G, it fell short on the top line. Organic sales rose a meager 1 percent amid a small 1 percent rise in volumes. Margins fell slightly as pricing remained flat and commodity costs rose.

CEO Ian Cook, however, expects cost savings to continue and help margins improve this year, leading to mid-single digit EPS growth this year (Street expects 5 percent growth).

4) DR Horton reported a loss of $0.06, below consensus of loss of $0.03. Orders down 17 percent, core operating margins of 0.00%. Believe it or not, this was not as bad as some had been predicting, but bottom line is still no sign of a clear bottom.

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