After a 129-point gain and new all-time closing high yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) were up 14 points in pre-market trading Wednesday and seemingly set for the push toward the 17,000 mark. In Asia, market gains varied in size, with Hong Kong and India climbing more than 1% while Japan and China saw small spikes. European stocks rose modestly, with markets in Germany, France, and the U.K. posting gains of as much as a third of a percent. In early U.S. trading, shares of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU ) were up sharply, while CalAmp (NASDAQ: CAMP ) saw large declines.
Alcatel-Lucent rose 5% in pre-market trading after the telecommunications and networking equipment company got an upgrade from J.P. Morgan. Despite general strength in the stock market, Alcatel-Lucent stock dropped more than 10% in June, largely because a major purchaser of telecom equipment said it expects no growth in wireless-network revenue in the second quarter and could therefore reduce its expenditures on capital equipment substantially. But the drop has made Alcatel more attractive to value investors, especially those who believe that its strong position in the small-cell LTE market has it positioned to profit from a hot new trend to boost network quality in high-traffic areas. If Alcatel-Lucent can successfully execute its planned strategic shift from telephone-related equipment to networking, today's prices will still look cheap in the long run.
CalAmp fell 13.3% as investors responded negatively to its quarterly financial report. Despite the steady erosion of revenue from the satellite side of its business, CalAmp rode growth in its wireless datacom division to an overall sales gain of 10% in its fiscal first quarter, while earnings per share topped investors' expectation by a penny. But the company's guidance for the current quarter fell short of shareholders' hopes, and positive comments from CEO Michael Burdiek about the prospects for wireless datacom business for the rest of the year could not prevent the stock from dropping. The existence of the satellite side of CalAmp's business makes interpreting overall results somewhat more confusing for some investors, but as CalAmp focuses on wireless, it could see greater opportunities for growth long into the future.
Investors in the Dow Jones Industrials might be hopeful for a rise above 17,000. But in the long run, milestones aren't as important as the fundamentals of the companies that make up the Dow. So as earnings season begins next week, keep an eye on whether individual stocks make the grade in terms of revenue and earnings growth.
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