Cognizant Posts 16.6% Rise in Net Profit: Ahead of the Ticker

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- IT services firm Cognizant Technology Solutions ( CTSH) reported $284.2 million in net profit for the first quarter, a 16.6% increase from the same quarter of 2012.

Revenue rose 18.1% to $2.02 billion from $1.71 billion the same period a year ago. The company had forecast revenue of at least $2 billion.

The firm also maintained its outlook of 17% revenue growth for this year. The company expects annual revenue to reach at least $8.6 billion.

Looking ahead to the next quarter, Cognizant expects revenues of at least $2.13 billion. Analysts had been expecting revenue of $2.11 billion, according Reuters.

The company also increased its share repurchase program by $500 million to $1.5 billion.

"Our performance during the first quarter was strong, and we are encouraged by the healthy demand for our broad range of services," CEO Francisco D'Souza said in a statement.

Internet provider AOL ( AOL) reported first-quarter revenue that grew 2% to $538 million on an increase in advertising revenue.

The company said total ad revenue grew to $359 million from $330 million, and that AOL Properties display ads experienced particular strength.

Growth in search revenue helped offset a loss in subscribers. AOL said subscription revenue fell 9% from the same period a year ago to $166 million, though the decline slowed. The average monthly churn rate slightly dipped to 1.9% from 2% in the year-ago quarter.

"Growth continues at AOL," Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said in a statement. "AOL's strategy of being the first scaled media and technology company is clearly represented in our results today, and we will continue to aggressively drive the company toward near-and long-term growth."

Earnings at the company rose to $25.9 million from $21.1 million a year ago.

McDonald's ( MCD) reported a bigger-than-expected drop in comparable sales in April, weighed down by global economic challenges.

The fast food chain reported sales at restaurants open at least a year fell 0.6% from the same month last year. McDonald's reported 0.7% sales growth in the U.S., but declines overseas. Sales fell 2.4% in Europe and 2.9% in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Analysts had expected a decline of 0.48% in sales at restaurants open at least 13 months, according to Reuters.

The gain in the U.S. was driven by the introduction of higher-end items like the Egg White Delight, chicken McWraps and value menu items listed for $1.

The decline in Asia was fueled by the avian flu in China, according to McDonald's, as well as weakness in Japan and Australia.

McDonald's CEO Don Thompson noted the "challenging macro environment" the company faces, but said it is "aligned around executing our long-term strategies to drive sustained, profitable growth."

The company has not been able to sustain consistent growth since experiencing a monthly same-store sales decline in October for the first time in nine years.

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-- Written by Brittany Umar.
Brittany joined TV in November 2006 after completing a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers College. Previously, Brittany interned at the local ABC affiliate in New York City WABC-TV 7 where she helped research and produce On Your Side, a popular consumer advocacy segment.