U.S. 2nd Quarter Earnings Mulled By China

WALLIf you?re with Nike, you don?t worry about China. The company reported that its revenue from that country soared 20% in the just completed quarter.

If you work elsewhere, however, you probably shudder when the topic turns to the hit China delivered in Q2. IBM, for instance, said China revenue for the period was down 25%.

Yum! Brands reported same-store sales there tumbled 10% while China operating profit plunged 25%. China sales were down 4% despite 7% unit growth.

Siemens said China sales declined 8% in the quarter, and new orders fell 2%.

BorgWarner blamed China?s limping auto market while reporting an overall 21% drop in net income.

United Technologies did not escape unscathed. New orders for its Otis elevator division were down 10% in China. Chinese orders in its climate, controls, and security segment were off 15%.

Anheuser-Busch InBev said volume fell 6.5% in China.

Frans van Houten, chief executive of Philips NV, on his earnings call spoke of ?negative order intake? in China.

Caterpillar continued to suffer. ?Our industry has been cut in half in the last year as they stabilize that economy,? said CEO Doug Oberhelman, referring to the Chinese authorities.

China was mentioned in almost half of the recent earnings calls of S&P 500 companies according to FactSet.

No surprise that China is now the factor lowering forecasts for the rest of the year. Take Volkswagen, the market leader in the world?s largest auto market. The German company, citing ?uncertainties,? expects this year?s sales in China to be lower than 2104?s.

Ford, generally doing well in that country, is not expecting a banner year either. ?At best we?re saying flat, probably down,? said CFO Bob Shanks to the BBC. If China sales in fact fall, it will be the first decline for the company there since 1990.

Companies by and large didn?t appreciate the magnitude of China?s slowdown and were caught off guard in Q2. Most executives, however, are not particularly perturbed. Says Apple CEO Tim Cook: ?Nothing that?s happened has changed our fundamental view that China will be Apple?s largest market at some point in the future.? And then there?s Mark Fields. ?We?re still very bullish on China, but it?s going to go through its fluctuations,? said the Ford CEO. ?That?s what happens in emerging markets.?

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