With the market bouncing daily like a cork in a storm, and with the earnings season less than inspiring on several fronts, my strongest desire is that the dart-throwers on Wall Street pay rapt attention to what they're hearing from reporting companies.

More than a few of the biggest companies from a host of industries, including aluminum manufacturer Alcoa (NYSE:AA), oilfield services kingpin Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), and industrial and technology producer Honeywell (NYSE:HON), have delivered a similar message: Unless something changes quickly, the rest of this year and next year will be anything but rosy.

The latest company to join this darkening parade was DuPont (NYSE:DD), the Delaware-based chemicals manufacturer. This quarter, it checked in with net income of $367 million, or $0.40 a share, versus $526 million, and $0.56 a share, for the same quarter a year ago. The most recent quarter included a $0.16-a-share charge for the cost of damage to the company's Orange, Texas, plant, from Hurricane Ike. Beyond that, DuPont estimates its business interruption costs from the hurricane at another two pennies in the third quarter and a dime in the fourth quarter.

Among the company's five operating units, only the agricultural and nutrition segment boasted increased sales volumes, largely because of increased demand for fungicides and insecticides in Brazil and for oilseeds in Europe. The other units reported volume drops of 1% to 11%, all of which were offset by increases in pricing. As a result, all of the five generated revenue increases.

Looking ahead, management's guidance is for fourth-quarter earnings to be less than half last year's level, as the remnants of Ike's destruction and weakening product demand in North America and Europe take their toll. For the full year, management expects EPS to be about flat with last year's $3.28 per share.

As is the case for so many companies that are increasingly being affected by the global economic slowdown, DuPont's shares have fallen more than 40% from their 52-week high. As such, and as is also the case with a plethora of big U.S.-based companies, I'm inclined to keep my powder dry on this one until the economy and product demand begin to show signs of recovery.  

DuPont is in the four-star contingent among companies rated by Motley Fool CAPS members. Why not render your opinion on the company?

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own a single share of any of the companies mentioned above. He does, however, encourage your questions or comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.