Third-quarter earnings per share of $0.01 puts Motorola in the black by the skin of its teeth -- a huge improvement over the year-ago period's $0.18 loss per share. Sales rolled in at $5.4 billion, some 27% lower than last year. These figures are very close to what the average Wall Street analyst had expected, so we have to look elsewhere to explain the 11% jump in Motorola's share price.
Management kicked its guidance for the fourth quarter up a notch. Before this report, Motorola was aiming for an essentially breakeven quarter to finish out 2009. Now, management sees $0.08 per share on the bottom line, give or take a penny.
Android phones loom large in that upbeat guidance. Verizon
Motorola has been stripping down to become a lean, mean operator and would not have come close to positive earnings without this cost-savings program. The savings are running ahead of plan by $100 million this year for a total cost reduction of $1.9 billion. If those Androids hit the ground running with some traction, that low-cost operating model should pave the way for some nice, juicy earnings in coming quarters. That is, until Motorola spins out the handset division into a separate company.
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