Updated from 11:52 a.m. EDT Shares of General Cable ( BGC) were among the NYSE's big winners Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and sales. Excluding items, General Cable reported a profit of 9 cents a share on sales of $517.5 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected it to earn 8 cents a share on sales of $431.7 million. Though the company faced inflationary pressures during the second quarter, it said it was able to pass along price increases that allowed it to report solid earnings compared with those in the first quarter of the year. Looking ahead, it said that it expects to post a third-quarter profit at or slightly above second-quarter results. Analysts are expecting it to earn 12 cents a share during the third quarter. Shares of the cable products maker traded up 85 cents, or 10.3%, to $9.12. United Rentals ( URI) rose after it reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and raised full-year guidance. Excluding items, it earned 42 cents a share on sales of $776 million. Analysts had expected it to earn 35 cents a share on sales of $777.5 million. The company said that strong performance in its general rentals segment and a substantial reduction in interest expense led to the strong quarterly results. Looking ahead, it now expects to earn $1.20 a share, up from its earlier guidance of $1 to $1.10 a share and above consensus estimates of $1.10 a share. Shares of United Rentals traded up 46 cents, or 2.4%, to $19.45. Shares of Johnson Controls ( JCI) rose after an analyst at Robert W. Baird upgraded the shares to outperform from neutral. After raising its price target to $64, Baird said it would be a buyer of the stock up to $60. On Tuesday Johnson Controls reported a third-quarter profit of $1.15 a share on sales of $6.8 billion. Analysts had expected it to earn $1.15 a share on sales of $6.54 billion. Shares of Johnson Controls traded up $2.76, or 5.2%, to $56.31.