Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
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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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of EMC. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.