Why General Electric Could Move the Dow Tomorrow

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The stock market was generally satisfied by the temporary budget resolution in Washington late last night, with the U.S. once more avoiding a dangerous debt-ceiling breach and the government reopening. Due to two high-profile earnings reports, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) had dropped about 55 points as of noon EDT today, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were up about 0.3% respectively. 

The flood of Dow-component earnings results comes to an end tomorrow with a report from General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) . The company will likely release earnings at about 6:30 a.m. EDT and then have a webcast at 8:30 a.m. EDT to discuss the results. What GE reveals could be important not only in its own right but also for competitors, including fellow aerospace supplier United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) and oil giants Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) .

General Electric has become a much different company in the past several years, moving away from its mid-2000s focus as a financial entity to return to its industrial roots. In doing so, General Electric has reminded investors of its wide assortment of business specialties.

For instance, GE has gained attention for its role in building engines for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, giving the company exposure to the rapidly growing, multitrillion-dollar market for commercial aircraft over the next couple of decades. United Technologies also builds aircraft engines through its Pratt & Whitney subsidiary, and the acquisition of Goodrich has given United Technologies even more exposure to the area. Therefore what General Electric says about its aerospace division will have implications for what United Technologies should expect to see in its own results.

At the same time, General Electric has made a big push into the energy space. It was an early pioneer in wind power and has boosted its renewable-energy presence, but it has also climbed onto the oil and gas production bandwagon with a growing set of support businesses providing energy services to a wide range of clients. Chevron and ExxonMobil are both looking to find new production opportunities to keep overall output up in light of ongoing depletion of their existing assets. Both energy giants will likely take advantage of General Electric's services in their joint efforts to find growth.

It's fitting for General Electric to have such a wide influence on the Dow, as it was a founding member of the average. As a bellwether for many important industries, GE's earnings results could indeed move the entire Dow tomorrow.

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