The Dow Faces a Key Test as United Technologies Rises, Disney Falls

Earnings results lifted the Dow early this morning, but whether the average can sustain record levels remains to be seen.

Jul 15, 2014 at 11:00AM

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) jumped out to a strong start, pushing into potential record territory after two of the Dow's financial giants reported favorable earnings results. Yet the broader market seemed unconvinced about pressing higher, and as of 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow proved unable to hold onto its gains, falling 8 points. Although financial stocks in the Dow did well, others were broadly mixed, with United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) posting a modest rise but Disney (NYSE:DIS) giving up ground early Tuesday.

Source: United Technologies.

United Technologies gained a quarter percent as the company benefited greatly from a rash of orders tied to the Farnborough Air Show in England. United Technologies pointed to several deals in which customers chose to use engines from the conglomerate's Pratt & Whitney division, including one involving Philippine Airlines buying Airbus aircraft and a Brazilian airline using Embraer aircraft. The news reminds investors in United Technologies stock that the Dow component's future success isn't entirely tied to any one particular aircraft manufacturer, with its systems and components found on many different major classes of airplanes. Moreover, a new $1 billion agreement to provide engines and landing-gear components to soon-to-be Alcoa subsidiary Firth Rixson should help United Technologies move forward in multiple directions. With Farnborough taking place the entire week, investors hope that United Technologies will see even more business at the key air show event.


Source: Disney.

Disney, however, lost nearly 1%. The entertainment giant saw another sign of the rising cost of television content, as reports surfaced that the NBA will seek to increase its television-rights payments dramatically in a new deal to follow Disney's current eight-year deal that expires in mid-2016. Currently, Disney pays less than half a billion dollars annually for the rights to broadcast NBA games, which include exclusive rights to the NBA Finals. But some now expect that the NBA will double that cost, potentially putting a $3.9 billion price tag on a new eight-year extension if Disney keeps the current structure of its deal. However, Disney is also getting some pressure from rival network Turner, which wants access to the NBA Finals, and that could put an even further upward boost on the total cost to Disney even if it and the NBA can negotiate a deal rather than opening the floor to bids from across the industry. With recent deals involving players and franchises suggesting a big pop in revenue, basketball is one area in which Disney suffers the costs of paying for content rather than the benefits of producing content itself.

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Dan Caplinger owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. 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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