The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) looks to be headed north at open today on comments from European Central Bank head Mario Draghi, who reassured investors that the ECB would do whatever is necessary to prop up the eurozone. European markets soared on the news as major indexes across the Atlantic climbed 1% or more. Asian stocks were also up overnight.
Earnings season peaks today, with Dow components 3M (NYSE: MMM ) , United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) , and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) all reporting this morning, and other hotly anticipated reports from Amazon.com and Facebook coming in the afternoon.
3M told investors it earned $1.66 a share in its second quarter, a penny above estimates and up slightly from $1.60 a year ago, though net income increased less than 1%. Revenue, meanwhile, fell 2% to $7.53 billion, in part due to a stronger U.S. dollar. Efforts to roll back costs and boost productivity helped operating margins improve to 22.9%.
Fellow conglomerate United Technologies posted EPS growth of 15% to $1.62, though that includes a net profit of $0.04 in one-time adjustments. Sales dropped 5% to $13.8 billion on foreign-currency translation and divestitures, while comparable sales grew 1%. Shares were down slightly in premarket trading.
Finally, energy titan ExxonMobil posted a 49% gain in profit, thanks to a $7.5 billion tax gain from divestments. Adjusted earnings, however, were down to $1.86 from $2.18 a year ago, as oil prices have been lower recently. Analysts were looking for EPS of $1.95. Oil and gas production declined by 5.6%, while revenue was up slightly from last year to $127.4 billion. Shares were down about 1% before market open, as they were for rival Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A ) , which dropped 2% as profits fell 13%.
Two economic reports of note also came out this morning. Initial unemployment claims dropped to 353,000 last week, down from 388,000 the week before and well under the 381,000 economists had been expecting. Continuing claims also dropped slightly.
Durable-goods orders increased 1.6% to $221.6 billion in June, which beat estimates of 0.3%, and May's figure was also revised slightly upward. Those two news items could help push stocks even higher, as they could indicate a turnaround in the economy.
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