Wall Street struggled this session, with stocks ending habitually further south than they started, battered by high oil, uncertainty in the banking sector and continued weakness in housing. As our quarter ended June 30, 2008, the Dow industrials clocked their worst June since the Great Depression. It was also the worst half for the Dow since 1970, when the U.S. was in a recession. Investors are looking ahead to the upcoming earnings session warily. “With the Dow nearing bear market territory it’s going to keep investors on edge,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners Inc. in New York. “I think the economic data is going to indicate an economy that is not slipping into a full-blown recession but one that is just limping along.”

The Paint & Coatings Industry Stock Index held on for a wild ride this quarter, the volatility shown in a quick glance at the top gainers and losers. After the dust cleared, the PCI Index was down 134.38 points, or 12.27 percent, to end at 960.83. Declining issues had the upper hand over advancing issues at a 21-to-12 count.
FMC Corp. roared ahead after the company reported a record first quarter, with net income at $93.9 million, or $1.23 per share, compared with net income of $45.8 million, or $0.59 per share in the same quarter last year. Revenues were up 11 percent, to $750.2 million. FMC said that results were strong across all divisions, and upped its full year outlook to range between $3.90 and $4.10 per share. FMC jumped 21.95 points, or 39.56 percent, and was the top dollar and percentage gainer. FMC ended at 77.44.
OM Group stumbled after it announced a drop in its first quarter income, citing higher costs and lower income from discontinued operations. OM Group earned net income of $55.2 million, or $1.81 per share, down from $114.8 million, or $3.85 per share in last year’s first quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of $2.03 per share. However, sales more than doubled, to $480.8 million. Sales were up on growth in the company’s primary markets, and on earnings from newly acquired companies. OM Group fell 21.75 points, or 39.88 percent, and was the top dollar loser. OMG ended at 32.79.
X-Rite was the top percentage loser after the company turned to a loss in its first quarter. X-Rite lost $16.8 million, or $0.58 per share, compared to net income of $7.8 million in the same quarter a year ago. In mid-May, X-Rite CFO Lynn Lyall left the company after less than three months on the job; Dave Rawden, previous CFO of Exopack Holding and Allied Holdings, was named as interim chief financial officer. X-Rite was removed from the Standard & Poor’s SmallCap 600 Index in late May. X-Rite shed 3.41 points, or 57.12 percent, and ended at 2.56.
Total surged 11.26 points, or 15.21 percent, after the company reported an 18 percent increase in profit for the first quarter. Total said it earned €6 billion ($5.6 billion), compared to earnings of €3.05 billion in the year-ago period. Total cited record oil prices. However, Total’s results did not impress everyone. “It’s a safe set of results but it’s lacking the ‘Wow!’ factor that they market was looking for,” said Jason Kenney, oil analyst at ING in Edinburgh. Total closed at 85.27.