On a busy day for earnings reports, several major companies released results before the start of the trading day. Some were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy that struck the East Coast in the fourth quarter.
On the plus side, at least in comparison to analysts' forecasts, was chemical maker DuPont Co., whose profit for the last three months of the year was $111 million, or 12 cents a share, down from $373 million, or 40 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had forecast only 7 cents a share for the latest period.
Johnson & Johnson said higher sales boosted its fourth-quarter earnings to $2.57 billion, or 91 cents a share -- more than 10 times its year-earlier net income of $218 million, or 8 cents a share.
But the maker of consumer health products and drugs said it expected its 2013 earnings to come in at $5.35 to $5.45 a share, less than analysts had been projecting.