Earnings Season Keeps Pressure on the Dow

With earnings season upon us, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has reacted with a second straight day of double-digit losses. As of 2:15 p.m. EST, the Dow's lost 60 points, or 0.5%. Most stocks are in the red today, and with a few big losers weighing down the index at large, it's time for investors to put today aside and focus on what's ahead with earnings on tap.

Earnings up to bat
While several companies have already reported earnings for the fourth quarter, Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) marks the first Dow component to release its data. Analysts expect the aluminum manufacturer to have a strong showing with a quarterly profit on a per-share basis, rather than a loss like it reported in the fourth quarter of 2011. The stock has moved little ahead the event, with shares up 0.55% so far today.

Fellow manufacturer Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) isn't having such a good day, however, with shares of the industrial giant down more than 1.2% so far. With little news out of the company today, the drop probably owes simply to investors looking to take their money and run after Caterpillar's recent run-up -- the stock has gained nearly 10% over the last month alone. However, considering Caterpillar's strong financials and price multiples still below the sector average, don't let today's sell-off stop you from taking a look at this steady stock.

Caterpillar is certainly not having the worst day on the Dow, at least. In the telecom industry, both Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) are having horrible days. The latter has fallen 1.5% on the day, while shares of the former have dropped a gut-churning 2.4%.Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam mentioned yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show that his company could be interested in buying out Vodafone. With both AT&T and Verizon having made significant gains in the past year, it seems these stocks are also the unfortunate victims of short-term investors cashing out before earnings come around.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) is also down heavily, with shares falling 3.3% -- and this has nothing to do with earnings. The company's 787 jet has had a horrible few days recently: First there was the runway fire at Boston's Logan Airport, and now reports are surfacing today of a fuel leak in a 787, also at Logan. The PR disaster has sent Boeing's shares plummeting the last two days. These are not the sort of highly publicized events the company wanted for its high-profile new airliner.

The past two days have been a nightmarish ride for Boeing investors. The company's execution problems with the 787 and emerging competitors have investors wondering whether Boeing will live up to its shareholder responsibilities, despite its top position in a massive industry. In this premium research report, two of The Fool's best industrial-sector minds have collaborated to provide investors with the must-know info on Boeing. They'll be updating the report as key news hits, so be sure to claim a copy today by clicking here now.


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