Markets shrugged off a recent string of losses today to trade about even. As of 11:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) had risen 0.13%. The market opened higher after promising news across the pond, as European finance ministers granted Spain an extra year to rein in its budget within the economic union's austerity requirements. Investors also looked optimistically to Germany, where hopes are that the highest German court will approve of Europe's latest bailout. However, the excitement rapidly fizzled out and the Dow fell throughout the morning to its current position. With earnings season beginning, investors seem hesitant to move one way or the other until more news is released.
United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) flew up near the top of the Dow today after announcing a new military contract, rising 1.1%. The U.S. Army and Navy ordered $8.5 billion worth of Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters from United Technologies' Sikorsky Aircraft Unit, set to be delivered over the next five years. The stock rose despite Nomura cutting its price target on the business to $90 from $95.
Shares of Kraft Foods surged 1.3%, nearing the company's 52-week high of $39.99. Analysts expect the consumer goods giant to announce an increase in earnings to $0.66 per share, up from its Q1 figure of $0.57.
Beverage giant Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) also posted a slight gain of 0.5% after shareholders formally approved a 2-for-1 stock split. Shares did not respond much to the news, as the company had previously announced the move, which helped push Coke shares up 13.5% so far in 2012. The split, Coke's 11th since its public offering in 1919, will bring the number of shares up to 11.2 billion. Investors can expect new shares to be distributed around Aug. 10, 2012.
Aluminum company Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) posted the largest loss on the blue chip index, dropping 3.5% by 11:45 a.m. The business kicked off earnings season yesterday after market close, posting a second-quarter profit of $0.06 per share. This number actually exceeded analysts' low expectations of $0.05, leading to some positive movement in after-hours trading. However, the good news could not deflect investors' concerns over the falling price of aluminum, which was the predominant cause of Alcoa's declining earnings.
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) followed Alcoa, posting a 1.8% decline so far. Investors must have disapproved of the company's new plan to acquire a 15% stake in Dutch microchip maker ASML for $4 billion. Intel hopes the investment will help it adopt new production techniques more rapidly.
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