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Investors can expect a flat start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) gained an insignificant six points in premarket trading this morning. Still, stocks should see plenty of volatility despite that quiet start: Dozens of companies are set to report fourth-quarter earnings in the next 24 hours, and the Federal Reserve will issue its latest interest rate policy statement at 2 p.m. EST.
Boeing handily beat earnings and sales estimates for its fourth quarter. The industrial giant booked $23.8 billion in revenue, significantly higher than Wall Street's expectations, thanks to success in ramping up aircraft production rates. Profit, at $1.61 a share, was also ahead of analysts' estimates. Boeing gave investors its best guess on what 2014 will bring, saying that sales should come in at about $89 billion, or 3% above this year's record tally. Earnings should rise to $7.10 a share on roughly 720 deliveries of commercial aircraft. The stock, which logged the best performance of the Dow's 30 components last year, is down 3.9% in premarket trading.
Dow Chemical today booked a 97% rise in adjusted fourth-quarter profit, to $0.66 a share. Revenue improved to $14.4 billion, up 3% from the prior-year period. Both the top and bottom-line figures beat analysts' expectations. Dow saw solid volume growth in the quarter, particularly in emerging markets. Cost reductions also helped boost profitability by more than 3 percentage points. The company announced a 15% hike to its quarterly dividend, to $0.37 a share. The stock is up 5.7% in premarket trading.
Finally, EMC this morning announced an 11% boost in quarterly sales, to $6.7 billion. Earnings improved at the same pace, climbing to $0.60 a share. The information technology provider benefited from new product launches in its data storage business and even saw its high-margin storage products return to sales growth. Still, EMC offered a somewhat weak outlook for 2014. Sales are expected to come in at $24.5 billion, just 5.6% higher than 2013's results. The stock is down 2.3% in premarket trading.
Start 2014 off right
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