The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) fell 0.5% today. It's never easy for anyone to know for sure exactly why the market does what it does on a short-term basis, but a slight decline in existing-home sales, a slight uptick in unemployment claims, and general mayhem in Europe following the failure of Spanish austerity measures were all likely culprits.
But not all Dow stocks got hammered. Three names, in fact, actually bucked the broader market decline:
Travelers is up after the company reported higher earnings per share, even though the gain was mostly due to a smaller share count. Still, the company topped analyst estimates, raised its dividend, and -- most importantly -- indicated that rates may be on the increase after a period of soft insurance pricing.
Verizon announced strong subscriber growth of about half a million. What's more, iPhone sales, which have been hurting Verizon and AT&T's margins, slowed. I've previously argued that the iPhone's increasing popularity constitutes a major long-term threat to wireless carries, so strong non-iPhone growth comes as a welcome sign. Earnings grew to $0.59 per share from $0.51 per share in the same period last year.
Shares of General Electric rose slightly in the lead-up to the company's earnings report tomorrow morning. Revenue is expected to fall some 10%, but analysts expect the company to earn $0.33 per share -- up from $0.23 in the first quarter of 2011.
While long-term investors don't need to sweat the day-to-day price fluctuations of earnings season, this time of the year can provide serious bargain opportunities for investors. So keep an eye on the stocks you own -- and those you want to own.
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