Strong Earnings Fail to Lure Buyers on Wall Street

Boeing and DuPont reported better-than-expected earnings, but that couldn't pull the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher.

Jan 29, 2014 at 3:30PM

Pessimism has set in on Wall Street, and it seems like no matter how good earnings reports are, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) will find a way to fall. Today, both Boeing (NYSE:BA) and DuPont (NYSE:DD) reported stronger-than-expected earnings, yet Boeing's stock crumbled, and the Dow fell 1%, as well.

It didn't help that midday, the Federal Reserve announced that it would further trim its asset-buying program by $10 billion, to $65 billion per month. Chairman Ben Bernanke led his final policy meeting, leaving way for Janet Yellen next month.

Boeing sees clouds in the forecast
Boeing reported that core earnings, which pull out one-time impacts like pension costs, rose 29%, to $1.84 billion, or $1.88 per share in the fourth quarter. That easily topped the earnings estimates of $1.57 per share, but couldn't keep the stock from falling 5.4% today.

The reason is that management is being cautious about 2014, primarily because of uncertain defense spending. CEO Jim McNerney said they were "very concerned about longer-term U.S. budget uncertainty" in a conference call with investors. The cautious tone played out in guidance, which was for just $7.00 to $7.20 per share in core earnings this year versus $7.07 in 2013.  

Boeing is known for sandbagging guidance early in the year, and McNerney is likely just being cautious with production and defense spending uncertainty ahead. I don't think this fundamentally changes the company. or signals a sell sign for investors.

DuPont sees profits double
The other big earnings report on the Dow came from DuPont, which impressed investors with net income that doubled to $185 million, or $0.20 per share, in the fourth quarter. Operating profit was $0.59 per share compared to the $0.55 estimate from analysts, and management said the company will earn $4.20 to $4.45 per share. 

After a rough 2013, DuPont looks like it's performing well, and agriculture spending is leading the way. The ag business saw revenue rise 18%, as high-yielding seeds and improved insecticides remain in high demand.

Shares are trading at just 13.7 times the high end of this year's estimates, and the company is paying an incredibly consistent dividend that yields 3%. Right now, I think that DuPont is set up for a great year.

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Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.

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