Industrials Pace a Sluggish Day on the Dow

Earnings season marches on, but mixed quarterly results from one large industrial giant aren't having much of an effect on a sluggish Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) . As of 2:10 p.m. EST, the index has remained flat, losing just five points to retreat from a new 52-week high set in early trading. Stocks are fairly mixed between risers and laggards today; here are the most important movers.

Optimism for today's leader
Caterpillar
(NYSE: CAT  ) released its fourth-quarter results today, managing to meet revenue projections while falling short of earnings targets. Including an $0.87 per-share writedown of its Siwei acquisition, Caterpillar recorded earnings per share of just $1.04, far below the $1.70 pegged by analysts. Last year's Chinese slowdown and weak global economy certainly haven't helped Caterpillar. However, the company is projecting increasing economic growth in 2013. The optimism has made investors forget about the earnings, and so far Caterpillar's shares are leading the Dow with gains of 1.9%.

That's good for the index, as Caterpillar is the only stock making much headway today. A jump in durable-goods orders for December has helped GE (NYSE: GE  ) capture gains of 0.7% today. It's a sign that manufacturing will continue to pick up in 2013 and marks the fourth straight month of improving durable-goods orders. GE has already had a strong start to the year, with the stock gaining more than 4% this month, so economic optimism could send shares even higher.

Still, that hasn't helped fellow industrial giants Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) and Alcoa stave off losses today. Shares of each have fallen more than 1%, ranking them among the top Dow laggards. Boeing's still dealing with its recent spate of 787 problems. However, once the company figures out the root of its problems and gets past lingering investigations, shares should be poised to bounce back. Boeing is still a leader in a massive global industry, and with shares down more than 2% to start the year, the stock has taken an inviting dip for opportunistic investors looking for a solid company.

Veering away from industrials, financial stocks aren't doing much to help the Dow today, either. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) are down 1% and 0.9%, respectively. B of A certainly didn't provide the quarterly results investors were expecting, but the company's still successfully moving ahead with its mortgage business and wealth-management division. It may not be too late to capitalize on gains from the Dow's brightest star of 2012.

Interested in Caterpillar?
Caterpillar's giving its investors the best day on the Dow so far, but should you put your faith in its optimistic outlook for 2013? Well, the company is the market share leader in an industry in which size matters, and its quality products, extensive service network, and unparalleled brand strength combine to give it solid competitive advantages. Read all about Caterpillar's strengths and weaknesses in our brand-new report. Just click here to access it now.


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