3M and Boeing Drag on the Dow Today

Most of the market is in a great mood today, but Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) and 3M (NYSE: MMM  ) are causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) to underperform the other major indices. The S&P 500 is up 1.3% and the Nasdaq Composite 2%, while the price-weighted Dow is only up 0.8%.

News on the economic front is generally positive. Early estimates of GDP growth in the fourth quarter came in at 3.2%, following 4.1% growth in the third quarter. The figure will be revised, so don't take that as a final reading, but it shows continued economic growth despite lower government spending and a partial shutdown of the federal government in October.  

On the downside, the National Association of Realtors' index of pending home sales dropped 8.7% last month to 92.4, the lowest reading since October 2011. High home prices, rising interest rates, and bad weather contributed to the drop. Don't think that the housing recovery is over completely, but it may need a breather and let job growth catch up to value growth seen over the past few years.

Why Boeing and 3M are a big deal today
Just four of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's components are down for the day but the impact they're having on the index is huge. The Dow is a price-weighted index with only 30 components, so Boeing and 3M's weight on the index is 10.6%. They're down 2.3% and 1.7%, respectively, accounting for the underperformance of the Dow.  

Boeing's drop is really a hangover from yesterday when the stock fell 6.1% after the aerospace giant reported earnings. As fellow Fool Adam Levine-Weinberg pointed out this morning, investors should put more stock in strong fourth-quarter earnings than a weak 2014 guidance. Boeing outperformed its 2013 guidance by nearly $1 per share, and CEO Jim McNerney isn't one to overpromise and underdeliver if he can help it.

3M's stock is down after the company reported earnings that had sales up 2.4% to $7.57 billion and net income up 12.6% to $1.1 billion, or $1.62 per share. The disappointment comes from weaker than expected sales, but currency changes that took a 1.7% bite out of growth added some definite headwinds. Long term, for 2014 management sees organic growth between 3% and 6%, which is a great sign for a company that has one of the longest running dividends on the market.

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  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 4:31 AM, Macherat wrote:

    I think most analysts missed the reason for BA's drop today and yesterday. I was simply the people who already knew the financial results (most news actually) selling. If you look back - at least for the 45 years I've owned the stock - it almost always happens. The place leaks.

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