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First Quarter 2009 Earnings Reports: Grim With a Side of Hope

Akron polymer maker Myers Industries reported a 51 percent drop in its profits because of lower sales to $5.1 million or $0.14 per share. Still Myers numbers beat Wall Street expectations.

Sherwin Williams also reported a painful cut in profits - down 52 percent from last year. That number is also better than what financial analysts had expected. But the paint maker warned its drop in sales for the rest of the year could still be steep.

Parker Hannifin reported a 79 percent drop in earnings from the first quarter of 2009 to the same time last year. The Cleveland company makes parts for things like escalators and moving sidewalks. But the company's shares surged 7 percent on Wall Street after executives said the drop in demand for its products seemed to slow in April. Raj Aggarwal is the dean at the University of Akron's College of Business Administration.

Raj Aggarwal: What we are seeing are glimmers of hope in an economy that has been fairly confusing so far.

Aggarwal says he and others will be carefully watching for more clues in the spate of earnings reports and unemployment numbers due out in the coming weeks.