Why the Dow's Calm Amid Earnings Turmoil

As you'd expect on the busiest earnings week of the season for the 30 stocks among the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) , investors are seeing a lot of volatility among individual companies reporting results. But in large part, those moves are canceling each other out this morning, and as of 10:45 a.m. EDT the Dow is down just five points.

Travelers (NYSE: TRV  ) was the big winner among Dow stocks this morning, rising nearly 4% after announcing that its profit doubled during the third quarter, handily beating analyst estimates. As often happens following years in which catastrophic losses are high, Travelers pointed to higher premiums for coverage as driving income. Losses were down a whopping 85% from last year's quarter, in which Hurricane Irene hit much of the Atlantic Seaboard, as well as the Northeast and New England.

On the other side of the earnings seesaw was American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) , whose shares tumbled almost 2.5%. Although the company managed to match earnings expectations, CEO Ken Chenault pointed to a "very uneven global economy" as being responsible for a slowdown in credit card spending growth for the company. Looking forward, though, the card company's deal with Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) to market its Bluebird prepaid card could have a substantial impact not only on AmEx's financial results, but also on its broader goals for the future.

Finally, Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) gained nearly 2% after roping 1.5 million new devices into its contract plans during the third quarter -- much more than analysts had expected. The success of its Share Everything plan, which links multiple devices onto a single shared-data plan, rather than having separate data, voice, and text allowances for each smartphone or tablet, has pushed up average household revenue by 6.5% from the previous year. Earnings per share matched consensus estimates. More importantly, the figures include only 650,000 Apple iPhone 5 activations, suggesting that the real impact of the new smartphone will come in the fourth quarter.

Smartphones, earnings, and you
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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and has options positions on American Express. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend American Express and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:47 PM
^DJI $18145.71 Down -16.64 -0.09%
AXP $67.36 Up +0.58 +0.87%
American Express CAPS Rating: ****
TRV $108.35 Down -1.17 -1.07%
The Travelers Comp… CAPS Rating: *****
VZ $48.20 Down -0.94 -1.91%
Verizon Communicat… CAPS Rating: ****
WMT $68.34 Down -0.39 -0.57%
Wal-Mart Stores CAPS Rating: ***