It seems to me that there really are a couple of different ways to view the quarterly earnings results at UPS (NYSE: UPS).

On the one hand, the big international delivery company boosted its quarterly revenue by 6.5% year over year to $12.7 billion. But it also noted that a precipitous drop in U.S. economic activity had caused its diluted earnings per share to drop by 9.4% to $0.87 per share, compared to a prior-year adjusted $0.96.

Frankly, I'm not buying that approach completely. After all, if you include impairment charges related to aging jets, along with other charges last year, the earlier quarter's per-share number slides to $0.78, or 10% below the March 2008 quarter. And since I don't want either my body or my packages being flown around in over-the-hill planes, I'd include the charges in operations.

Now that I've incurred the wrath of CPAs everywhere, let's move on to note that the company's three primary areas of operation all increased their revenues in the quarter. Sure, the U.S. Domestic Package segment eked out only a 2.5% hike, but the International Package group and Supply Chain and Freight both checked in with double-digit improvements.

And because UPS and its international delivery sidekick FedEx (NYSE: FDX), along perhaps with equipment manufacturer Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), are considered barometers of the economy's health, it's notable that Atlanta-based UPS lowered its full-year earnings guidance to between $3.90 and $4.20 per share from a previous range of $4.30 to $4.50.

During the company's conference call, CEO Scott Davis noted that, amid the U.S. economic slowdown, many UPS customers have "tightened their belts" and are shifting away from premium air products in favor of ground, but management expects a continuation of the company's growth overseas.

So UPS' sentiments are generally in concert with such other big international companies as Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and DuPont (NYSE: DD), both of which have been somewhat cautionary about difficult U.S. economic times going forward, but nevertheless remain optimistic about the international sector.

At the same time, for my money, UPS, which is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick, merits ongoing Foolish monitoring for, among other things, its global operating scope and its attractive 2.5% forward yield.

Related Foolishness:

In addition to the UPS selection by the Income Investor team, FedEx is a Stock Advisor pick. Find out more about these and other companies with a free 30-day trial subscription to either one of these market-beating services.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith is devoid of financial relationships with any of the companies mentioned. He does encourage your comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy that can be delivered to you instantly.