United Technologies Helps Nudge the Dow Higher

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) eked out another win today, even as the two other major indexes closed lower, as earnings season continued to march on with a mixed bag today. With some help from United Technologies' (NYSE: UTX  ) strong report, the blue chips pushed up 22 points, or 0.14%. Shares of the parent of Otis elevators gained 3% as a jump in aerospace orders and cost-cutting helped the company beat earnings estimates. EPS improved from $1.62 to $1.70, while the experts had called for just $1.57. The company's acquisition of Goodrich last year helped drive a 16% increase in revenue to $16 billion, but that was short of the consensus at $16.37 billion. United also raised the low end of its full-year guidance up to $6.00 from $5.85, keeping the high end at $6.15.

On the other end, Travelers (NYSE: TRV  ) flopped in its earnings report, finishing the day down 3.8% after saying it will cut jobs and lower auto insurance prices. Despite that news, earnings per share of $2.13 was well ahead of estimates at $1.60 as the insurer saw fewer catastrophic losses. Still, the company had a 7% decline in personal auto insurance premiums, prompting the decision to lower prices. Shares of fellow insurers also dropped on that news as it may lead to lower industrywide margins and a potential price war.

Also reporting earnings today was AT&T (NYSE: T  ) , which shed 0.5% after hours once its report came out. Profits slipped 2.1% despite an increase in revenue as smartphone subsidy costs rose. Still, adjusted per-share earnings rose inched up from $0.66 to $0.67, thanks to share buybacks, but missed estimates by a penny. AT&T's wireless division added contracts for 551,000 devices, but most of the additions were for less-lucrative tablets. Revenue improved 1.6% to $32.1 billion, topping estimates of $31.8 million.

Finally, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) shares finished down 0.6% after the networking specialist announced yet another acquisition, saying it would buy Sourcefire, which provides network security services, for $2.7 billion. The deal will provide additional revenue for Cisco, but won't necessarily lead to integration between the systems, according to analysts. Sourcefire finished up 28%, in line with the premium Cisco offered.

With the American markets reaching new highs, investors and pundits alike are skeptical about future growth. They shouldn't be. Many global regions are still stuck in neutral, and their resurgence could result in windfall profits for select companies. A recent Motley Fool report, "3 Strong Buys for a Global Economic Recovery," outlines three companies that could take off when the global economy gains steam. Click here to read the full report!


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