The blue chip index fell for the second day in a row on glum economic information, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is making a comeback after falling 47 points yesterday. Now 2% away from its record high, the index is still in reach of that top mark. With no economic data releases today and scant corporate earnings to be reported, there are four big winners helping the Dow reclaim its hard-earned gains.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) released earnings yesterday after the closing bell. With the news that the tech manufacturer beat analyst estimates across the board, shares jumped 5% in pre-market trading this morning. Though revenue and earnings were down 6% and 16%, respectively, the company beat its own forecasts and analyst estimates by a solid amount, with earnings of $0.82 per share topping the expected $0.71. The company did make strides in the fourth quarter by strengthening its balance sheet through $2.6 billion in cash generation and $1 billion in debt payoffs. The company is still on a downward slide, but CEO Meg Whitman put all rumors of a breakup to rest on the company's conference call. HP's stock has dropped by 66% over the past three years, so a boost from this earnings report will be a welcomed event from its investors.
Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) is up this morning after announcing a 10% boost for its dividend. The new $0.28-per-share dividend is a welcome increase for investors, and is the 51st increase in a row for the beverage juggernaut. Though the company had some disappointing earnings news, it is still seeing some improvement in U.S. markets. In other news, two veteran board members will be retiring in April. Don Keough (86) is a longtime Coke director,having joined the company in 1960. He eventually became the company's COO and joined the board for two separate stints. Director Jimmy Williams (79) is also a longtime board member and former SunTrust Banks CEO.
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) is continuing its ascent on the news that it may have a permanent fix for its 787 Dreamliner's battery malfunction, despite news that United Continental's United Airlines will be removing the Dreamliner from its fleet through June 5. The proposed fix has been sent to the FAA for approval, and lead representatives from Boeing will be meeting with officials today. Once the FAA approves any fix for the battery problems, the public will be more willing to accept the fix and have greater confidence in flying in the Dreamliner. This would benefit both Boeing and the airlines. Elsewhere, Japanese investigators have found additional fixes for other problems with the Dreamliner jet, from fuel leaks to cracks in the cockpit glass. None of the issues are as severe as the battery problems Boeing has been working on since the 787 fleet was grounded last month.
Just a winner
American Express (NYSE: AXP ) is also feeling the good vibes this morning. The personal finance company has introduced a new "ezeClick" system in its India market that allows customers to skip various data fields when making an online payment. Since the company is very focused on improving its international presence, this move will help it make a good impression in India, where many customers had been frustrated with the online payment process. AmEx is also adding two new directors to its board: Samuel J. Palmisano (CEO of IBM) and Anne Lauvergeon (former SA chief of Areva). With its recent earnings announcement, AXP has been gaining ground on Wall Street, and has just received another endorsement: TheStreet.com reaffirmed its buy rating of the finance company, with a score of A+.
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