The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was trading flat by midafternoon as earnings season has kicked into high gear with a spate of quarterly reports.
"The market is digesting the sharp move we've seen this week and doing its best to ignore the results from IBM and Google, which didn't look great," said Steve Sosnick, equity risk manager at Timber Hill/Interactive Brokers Group, according to Reuters.
One Dow component posted well received first-quarter results today; here are some of the highlights.
General Electric (NYSE: GE ) was trading 2.3% higher despite slightly missing analyst estimates.
GE's operating earnings per share checked in at $0.33, a decline of 15% mainly due to the impact of selling its NBCUniversal stake to Comcast a year ago. The main story in General Electric's figures was its industrial segment profit surge $3.3 billion, up 12% from last year's first quarter. Digging deeper, GE's industrial segment organic revenue was up 8%, which topped the high end of its guidance range.
"We had strong results in the first quarter in most of our markets, including Power & Water, Aviation, Oil & Gas, and GE Capital," said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt in a press release. "The environment was generally positive, and we executed on our operational priorities with strong organic growth, margin enhancement, and solid cash generation."
Another bright spot for investors was GE's ability to lower industrial structural costs in the first quarter by $254 million. It remains on pace to achieve its goal of reducing those costs by $1 billion for the full year.
Ultimately, investors focused on the continued growth of GE's industrial business as the company distances itself from GE Capital. GE's industrial portfolio looks to continue surging ahead on increased profits from its aviation, power and water, and oil & gas businesses, which posted profit increases of 19%, 24%, and 37%, sequentially.
Outside the Dow, Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI ) agreed yesterday to acquire Air Distribution Technologies from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for approximately $1.6 billion. It's an acquisition that makes sense for Johnson Controls, a maker of HVAC systems and other technologies, as ADT's revenue is roughly three-fourths nonresidential.
"This investment expands Johnson Controls' position in the buildings space with additional products that are complementary to our existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning offerings," said Alex Molinaroli, Johnson Controls chairman and chief executive officer, in a press release. "It reflects our stated commitment to invest in the buildings business as a growth platform and further enhances our offerings and channels."
Acquiring ADT will enable Johnson Controls to use its massive scale to leverage purchasing savings and reduce corporate overlap. Investors shouldn't expect the move to produce incremental earnings per share until 2016.
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