The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was trading a mere eight points lower, or 0.05%, by midafternoon following the unwelcome news that new-home sales took a dive in March. Sales plunged 14.5% to a 384,000 annualized pace, which was the lowest level in eight months and lower than any forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
"It's the reduction in affordability, the lack of inventory, also weak growth in median household income -- all these are contributing to the sluggish recovery in housing," said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics, according to Bloomberg. "It's going to raise concerns about the strength of the housing recovery, but it's too early to be too worried."
With that news in mind, here is one company hauling the Dow higher today after its earnings release, along with one on deck for tomorrow.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) is the Dow's biggest gainer today by a wide margin, trading nearly 2% higher after releasing its first-quarter results that pleased investors. Boeing's core earnings per share, which excludes certain pension costs and post-retirement expenses, checked in at $1.76. That was much higher than analyst expectations, though it should be noted that those estimates had been reduced throughout the quarter.
Higher commercial deliveries drove revenue up 8% to $20.5 billion, while Boeing's operating cash flow increased significantly to $1.1 billion. The aviation giant also posted a 12% increase in core operating earnings to $2.1 billion as operating margin increased 30 basis points over last year's first quarter. Boeing also continued to return value to shareholders by spending $2.5 billion to repurchase 19.4 million shares during the quarter.
"Our outlook for the full year remains positive on the strength of demand for our fuel-efficient new commercial airplanes, our solid position in global defense, space and security markets, and our enterprise focus on meeting customer commitments, improving productivity and profitably delivering the growth in our sizable backlog," Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney said in a press release.
Another Dow industrial heavyweight, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), will release its first-quarter results Thursday. Today, the heavy-equipment manufacturer released unaudited dealer sales data that showed further deterioration in global demand for its mining equipment.
Sales of Caterpillar's heavy equipment fell 12% year over year in March, which only added to the 8% loss from the first two months of 2014. Sales of the company's high-margin mining equipment was especially weak, falling 46% in March after a 37% tumble during the first two months of the year.
Investors aren't expecting a positive surprise from Caterpillar tomorrow, but this essentially confirmed the company's results will be a mixed bag, at best, with little upside early in 2014.
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