Earnings season has hit the market in a big way today, with several of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) biggest names reporting quarterly results. The Dow has managed to make the most of the day so far, gaining nearly 70 points with most of its member stocks in the green, but earnings disappointment has kept the index from even greater gains. Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) has taken a big hit, sinking to the near-bottom of the index, with earnings-related slumps hitting both DuPont (NYSE: DD ) and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) as well. Let's catch up on what you need to know.
Coca-Cola fizzes out
Coca-Cola's adjusted earnings per share of $0.64 in the second quarter beat analyst expectations by a penny, but the company's disappointing sales figures sent this stock on its 3% slide today. The beverage giant said sales fell 1.4% last quarter, with volume growth flat in North America; analysts had projected 1% to 2% volume growth on the continent. Coca-Cola did boost global volume growth by 3%, with strength in Europe, Asia, and Africa helping to counter North America's weakness. But worldwide volume sales of juice fell by 1%.
The company had its bright spots: Coca-Cola pushed its gross margin higher by 0.8 percentage points for the quarter, and the beverage giant's 10% gain in sparkling beverage volume in China bodes well for the company's efforts in Asia's largest market. But with the public in developed markets such as the U.S. growing more concerned about health, Coca-Cola will need to find new ways to keep growth churning -- particularly in North America.
Shares of Dow stock United Technologies have fallen by 1.9% so far today following its earnings report. The industrial conglomerate boosted its earnings by 7.7% for the quarter to surpass analyst expectations; revenue jumped by 7.4%, prompting company leadership to boost the lower boundary of the company's full-year earnings outlook by $0.10.
So why the fall? Analysts are concerned about the 1% overall sales slide at United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney business. Wall Street has also grown concerned about the possibility of a slowing Chinese economy impacting UTC's Otis elevator business in the future. For long-term investors, however, UTC's quarter isn't yet anything to fret about. With the company's significant footprint in the aerospace business, and its ongoing revenue growth still strong, it's best not to place too much emphasis on today's decline.
DuPont put a scare into investors today with its own earnings, as the chemicals giant warned that its agricultural business likely isn't set to bounce back in the current quarter. While DuPont's net profit gained nearly 4% in the quarter, sales missed Wall Street's expectation, pushing this stock down by 0.6%. The company did offer a small boost to long-term investors by raising its dividend, but shareholders need to keep a close eye on how this company's agricultural business can turn things around in the near future after sales fell flat last quarter.
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