Wednesday saw several big companies reveal their earnings for the last three months of 2012. three of the most important firms reported this morning, giving some insight into their businesses, and the world economy in general. Siemens AG (NYSE:SI), SAP G (NYSE:SAP), and Unilever N.V. (NYSE:UN) all reported before the market opened.


The bottom line is that global demand was weaker than expected toward the end of 2012, and 2013 is a year marred by uncertainty. The companies that reported this morning are each large enough, and provide a wide enough range of products, to form something of a global barometer.

Siemens AG (NYSE:SI): This firm posted net earnings of €1.21 billion for the period, twelve percent below the firm’s reported earnings in the last three months of 2011, which totaled €1.38 billion. The company’s revenues for the period were up to €18.13 billion, a rise of 25.

The company said that global demand was the biggest contributor to its lower earnings figures. Despite the rise in revenues, orders fell in the year to €19.14 billion. The uncertainty in the global markets is not going to help the company going forward, according to statements from the firm’s executives, released alongside the report.

Siemens AG shares were trading down in Frankfort after the release of the company’s earnings report. At time of writing, the firm’s shares had fallen by more than 1% in Germany, and similar movement was noted in before market trading on the NYSE exchange.

SAP AG (NYSE:SAP): A second under-reaching earnings report, SAC AG (NYSE:SAP) announced that net profit for the fourth quarter had fallen to €1.1 billion, a fall of 8% compared to the same period last year. Revenue for the quarter did increase for the period to €5.02 billion, an increase of 12% over last year.

The firm did, however, over 2013 guidance that caused optimism among traders, The firm expects to continue its voracious growth in 2013, and expects profit for the full year ahead to amount to between €5.85 and €5.95 billion. Shares had rise by more than 2% on the company’s home Frankfort exchange on the news that 2013 was looking bright.

SAP AG (NYSE:SAP) operates in the enterprise software and services sector, supplying commercial software to businesses. The company expects the sector to grow by a large margin in the year ahead, and expects to be able to pull in a great deal of that new business. Investors are clearly confident in the company’s vision, SAP shares have risen by more than 34% in the last twelve months.

Unilever N.V. (NYSE:UN): The consumer goods firm poster earnings that offered contrast when set beside the German giants. The company posted an increase in net profits of €4.48 billion, up fro €4.25 billion last year. Revenue for the three month period totaled €51.32 billion, a rise of more than 10% over last year.

Unilever N.V. (NYSE:UN) shares were rising on its home Amsterdam exchange in the wake of the announcement. The company’s share price had risen by over 2.8% at time of writing on that exchange, and a correlated rise was occurring in the NYSE before market trades. In the last twelve months the firm’s stock has risen by almost 20%.

The key development for the company in 2012 was the growth of the value of its emerging markets business. The company said that the volume and value of that business grew faster than it had expected in the past year, marking a disconnection from the sluggish Western economies that have allowed it to perform exceptionally well in a difficult environment.