Earnings season is well underway, and it's been interesting to see how various earnings reports have had a huge impact on the markets. With the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) having risen to within a few hundred points of their all-time high, continuing positive surprises on the earnings front could be the catalyst that extends the bull market beyond the four-year mark this March.
Within the Dow this morning, Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) added itself to the list of companies making shareholders happy, reporting profits that more than doubled over the year-ago quarter. Even including the impact of restructuring costs and expense-cutting measures, P&G's earnings came in well above expectations, and more importantly, the consumer giant pushed up its estimates for its full 2013 fiscal year. With P&G having taken a lot of flak recently for failed product launches and inefficiencies, this report could well change sentiment among investors, as the stock is poised to hit new five-year highs. The stock is up a whopping 3.3% as of 10:50 a.m. EST.
Halliburton (NYSE: HAL ) also reported its quarterly results. Although it managed to top estimates, the oil services company nevertheless reported a drop in net income of 35%. Despite plentiful new opportunities for energy exploration and production around the world, activity in Halliburton's key domestic market has been relatively slow, as a glut of natural gas amid low prices has led to a reduction in onshore drilling. However, as it continues to emphasize the potential of its deepwater services, Halliburton has set the stage for a promising future, as that market seems to have almost boundless growth. The stock is up 5% so far today.
Finally, Honeywell (NYSE: HON ) managed to top estimates in its quarterly report this morning, reversing a year-ago loss by posting a profit of $0.32 per share. Despite dealing with a somewhat sluggish growth environment in which revenue rose only 1%, the company has managed to boost margins in order to help its net income recover. Honeywell also affirmed its guidance for 2013, sending shares higher.
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Domestic oil and gas service companies have taken a hit in the recent past due to a slowdown in the natural-gas drilling boom of the last couple of years. As this market looks to rebound, investors would be wise to consider Halliburton, one of the top companies in the business and one of those most in tune with the domestic market. To access The Motley Fool's new premium research report on this industry stalwart, simply click here now and learn everything you need to know about how Halliburton is positioning itself both at home and abroad.