Wall Street Unimpressed by Strong Earnings Today

It's pretty quiet on the economic front today, but earnings are in full swing, driving a few of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) components today. Still, the index is only up 0.28% late in the trading session, while the broader S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is flat, making for a pretty quiet day on Wall Street.

United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) is today's earnings winner, climbing 3%. Revenue jumped 16% to $16 billion, and net income came to $1.56 billion, or $1.71 per share. Earnings easily beat estimates, but revenue fell short of expectations. What saved the stock from the top-line disappointment today was an increase in the company's full-year guidance. The company now expects revenue of $64 billion and earnings of $6.00 to $6.15 -- the bottom of that range is $0.15 higher than previous estimates. The aircraft business is driving results, and the acquisition of Goodrich last year is beginning to pay off. This won't be a high-organic-growth company, but as a supplier of products like aircraft components and elevators, it will continue to be a steady player, and it pays a nice 2.1% dividend.

Travelers (NYSE: TRV  ) , on the other hand, is the big earnings loser despite a pretty solid second quarter. The company's net income jumped 85% to $925 million, or $2.41 per share, driven by higher prices which the company has been pushing for three years now. But investors will see that a 38% drop in catastrophe costs is a one-time benefit, net premiums written fell 0.7%, and the company announced a plan to cut costs by $140 million in the consumer segment. The company's auto policies dropped 12% in the past year, and home insurance is down 9% due to the cost increases that boosted Q2 results; consumers are finding it easy to simply switch coverage to save money. Management hopes lower costs will stem those losses. Travelers stock is down 3.6%. 

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) made news on the acquisition front today, acquiring network security specialist Sourcefire for $2.7 billion, although the market has reacted with a yawn to the announcement: Cisco stock is down a mere 0.3%. Fellow Fool Anders Bylund thinks this is finally an acquisition investors should get excited about after years of questionable consumer acquisitions bloated the company and forced it to slim down. It will take years to learn whether the acquisition pays off, but Cisco is definitely a market darling again, having gained 60% over the past year -- and that could continue, because the stock trades at just 14 times earning and pays a 2.6% dividend.

Dividends are one of the best ways for investors to make money in the market. While income stocks don't garner the notoriety of highflying growth stocks, they're also less likely to crash and burn. And over the long term, the compounding effect of the quarterly payouts, as well as their growth, adds up faster than most investors imagine. With this in mind, our analysts sat down to identify the absolute best of the best when it comes to rock-solid dividend stocks, drawing up a list in this free report of the only nine that fit the bill. To discover the identities of these companies before the rest of the market catches on, you can download this valuable free report by simply clicking here now.


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