Today in the Fortune 500: Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson beat Wall Street expectations and Fortune 500 companies increase hiring overseas

April 19, 2011, 7:35 PM UTC
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The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

PROFITS DOWN, SHARES UP for Goldman Sachs. The company reported a profit of $2.7 billion for the first quarter of 2011, down from $3.5 billion the previous year. Those numbers beat Wall Street expectations and Goldman’s (GS) share price increased by 2% following the announcement. [Fortune]

SIMILAR STORY AT JOHNSON & JOHNSON which saw a 23% decline in first quarter earnings and slow sales growth due to its recall problems. Still, analysts had expected worse, and Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) shares rose 2% to $61.65 in premarket trading. [Wall Street Journal]

JOBS OVERSEAS Several Fortune 500 companies are increasing employment in foreign countries while cutting back on hiring in the U.S. The U.S. Commerce Department says that many multinationals reduced their work forces in America by 2.9 million during the 2000s while hiring 2.4 million workers abroad. Companies following the trend include Microsoft (MSFT), Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and General Electric (GE). [Wall Street Journal]

NEVER UNDER OATH The defense lawyers for Galleon co-founder Raj Rajaratnam rested their case yesterday without putting him on the stand. That’s a typical practice in white-collar criminal cases because it avoids the high risk of a slip-up during the prosecutors’ cross-examination. [Wall Street Journal]

FORD CUTS LINCOLN DEALERSHIPS as part of a plan to improve sales, which have fallen 11% this year. Ford (F) will close 175 of its 500 total metro Lincoln outlets in hopes that fewer dealers will be more competitive. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

ABOUT THAT RELIEF FUND BP (BP) has only paid out $3.8 billion of the $20 billion in seed money that the company set aside for Gulf coast residents affected by the oil spill last year. The company defended the slow payout pace in a press release that said, “Amounts requested by claimants very often bear no reasonable relationship to the damages actually proven.” Some do seem exorbitant–one applicant requested all $20 billion. [CNNMoney]