Just When You Thought The Big Gains Were Over

Wall Street leads an earnings rise that could approach 20%

Strong quarter or weak? In BUSINESS WEEK's flash report on third-quarter profits at 80 companies, the answer is decidedly strong, with earnings up 17% on a 10% sales jump. More than 4% of that profit bump came from Texas Instruments and TRW, both coming back from losses a year before. Financial services and Wall Street firms also showed strength, including Merrill Lynch (+49%), Travelers Group (+39%), and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities (+114%). Among the trouble spots: Eastman Kodak (-43%) preannounced its problems, while Chrysler and General Motors both posted subpar performances. That made Ford Motor the winner among the Big Three auto makers, with a 64% profit gain.