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Morning Market Roundup: Durable Goods Weak, Lousy Q3 for United, P&G Earnings Down

Durable Goods: U.S. companies remained cautious in September and held back on orders for long-lasting manufactured goods that signal investment plans. Weak business investment has contributed to slower economic growth.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders for durable goods jumped 9.9 a percent last month. While it was the biggest gain in nearly three years, most of the September gain was driven by a spike in aircraft orders, which are very volatile and plummeted in the previous month.

When taking out transportation, orders rose just 2 percent. And demand for core capital goods, such as machinery and equipment, were unchanged in September. Core capital goods are considered a proxy for business investment plans. Those orders rose only slightly in August after steep declines in July and June.

United Airline: Travelers stayed away from United, frustrated by technology glitches from United's merger with Continental. And a huge accounting charge wiped out most of its profit.

United's performance weakened by every measure important to airlines: Per-passenger revenue fell 2.6 percent, and was down in every part of the world except for the Pacific. Traffic decreased 1.5 percent. Yield, which measures fares paid, slipped 1.2 percent.

Net income for United Continental Holdings Inc. dropped to $6 million, or 2 cents per share, from $653 million, or $1.69 per share, a year earlier.

Its most recent profit would have been bigger if not for a special charge for a preliminary agreement with its pilots. But excluding that charge, its profit of $1.35 per share was still 12 cents less than expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue fell 2.6 percent to $9.91 billion, also below analyst expectations.

Procter & Gamble: Procter & Gamble said Thursday that its fiscal first quarter net income fell 7 percent, as costs related to restructuring and the stronger dollar weighed on results.

But the world's largest consumer products maker's adjusted results beat expectations on Wall Street, as it cut costs, made market share gains and commodity costs eased. The results were a much needed positive for CEO Bob McDonald, who some have criticized for not doing enough to turn around results. Shares rose 2 percent in premarket trading.

For the current quarter, Procter & Gamble predicts adjusted core earnings of $1.07 to $1.13 per share with revenue ranging from down 1 percent to up 1 percent, implying revenue $21.88 billion to $22.32 billion. Analysts expect net income of $1.09 on revenue of $21.76 billion.

For the full year P&G kept its guidance for adjusted core earnings of $3.80 to $4 on flat revenue growth to up 1 percent. That implies $83.68 billion to $84.52 billion. Analysts expect net income of $3.90 per share on revenue of $84.38 billion.

U.S. Futures: Stock futures edged higher Thursday on manufacturing date and earnings reports.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 61 points to 13,082. The broader S&P futures tacked on 7.3 points to 1,412.60. Nasdaq futures gained 16.75 points to 2,667.25.

Earnings reports continued to arrive Thursday and the results were mixed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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