Earnings season has dealt its first blow to the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) blue-chip stocks today: Coca-Cola's (NYSE: KO ) disappointing results have sent its stock into the red. The index has fallen about 35 points as of 2:25 p.m. EDT, and while few Dow stocks are moving much, only a handful of stocks are in the green. Coke's getting the news, but it's not the only story on tap as we make our way into earnings season. Let's catch up on the movers and stories you need to know.
All eyes on Coke
Coca-Cola's shares have led the way down today, falling 1.6%. The firm's $0.63 adjusted earnings per share matched up with analyst projections for the previous quarter, but revenue at the beverage maker declined slightly year over year to $12.75 billion, missing analyst expectations of $12.95 billion. Worse for Coke's future, volume in North America fell by 1%, including a 4% drop in soda volume, even as the company's worldwide volume picked up by 1% for the quarter.
It's not an entirely unexpected problem: Americans are simply drinking less soda as the public grows increasingly concerned about widespread obesity and other health problems. If Coca-Cola wants to improve in the region, it will have to cater to changing tastes with healthier options. The good news is that Coke is still succeeding and growing overseas, so the slight dip in the North American market isn't a major cause for concern just yet. Coca-Cola also cited poor economic conditions as part of the reason its earnings didn't exceed expectations, so the company may turn around its results in the U.S. as the economy picked up steam.
Coke's not the only Dow stock delivering earnings this week. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) , which reports its results tomorrow, is getting a pre-release bounce today. Shares of the chip maker have been bid up 1.3%, even though many observers remain uncertain of how the PC market's decline will affect the company's results. Intel predicted a small rise in 2013 sales back in April, and the company says its rising sales of chips for servers will offset potential PC-related losses.
Still, Intel's expectations for this quarter aren't optimistic. The company projects sales to slump 4.5% year over year, and analysts project earnings of just $0.39 per share -- more than a 30% drop from last year's second-quarter result.
Finally, fellow Dow component Merck's (NYSE: MRK ) shares have fallen 0.9% after the FDA advisory committee canceled a meeting scheduled this week that would have reviewed Merck's surgical drug sugammadex. The FDA already rejected the drug once back in 2008, and the committee's asking for more time to look over the drug before coming to conclusions. No big pharma investor likes delays in the long, drawn-out developmental and regulatory process that is bringing new drugs to market, but this isn't a killer for Merck. Although the firm needs all the new drugs it can get today as the patent cliff hammers its sales, analysts only expect peak sales of about $663 million for the drug by 2018, according to Reuters.
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