It's probably a revealing trend that may have occurred before, but I don't believe it's been as pronounced as in the current earnings season. That is, a wide variety of companies, about which I've written recently, have recorded far stronger earnings internationally than in the U.S. It's a trend that may say something about the underlying strength of our domestic economy.
The most recent example of this trend is shipping carrier UPS
In the quarter, Atlanta-based UPS achieved revenue of $12.2 billion, a 3.9% increase over the June 2006 quarter. Net income for the quarter rose 4.1% to $1.1 billion, while diluted per-share earnings were up 7.2%. And as evidence of the trend that I believe is more meaningful for the quarter than perhaps is being recognized, international package revenue increased by 12%, compared to just a 1.6% increase for U.S. domestic package revenue.
Also reflecting the company's international vitality, total export volume was up 10.4% in the quarter, with Europe posting a double-digit export volume gain and Asia's export volume jumping 25%, reflecting strong growth in exports from China.
Looking ahead, UPS's CFO Scott Davis noted, "We see increasing benefits for the company due to investment in both [sic] ground, air and ocean capabilities as well as further expansion globally of our small package business." Davis also reaffirmed management's target of annual adjusted per-share earnings growth of 6% to 10%.
In a sense, it's reassuring to find a company that can boost revenues and earnings, mostly thanks to its international growth during a period of domestic pullback. At the same time, UPS carries a market valuation approaching $80 billion, a more-than-25% return on equity, a strong balance sheet -- despite its capital intensive nature -- and a 2.3% forward dividend yield.
Given these metrics and the company's seeming ability to expand further overseas, I believe it warrants at least continued Foolish monitoring.
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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own a single share of any of the companies mentioned. He welcomes your questions, comments, concerns, or kibitzes. UPS is an Income Investor recommendation. CEMEX is a Stock Advisor and Global Gains selection. FedEx is also a Stock Advisor selection. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.