Boeing's Stock Dives to Lead the Dow's Struggles

Stock indices were mixed as earnings season marches on, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  )  down 19 points as of 2:30 p.m. EDT and 17 of its 30 member stocks in the red. Boeing  (NYSE: BA  )  has been the leading drag on the index so far, shedding 2.2% after issuing its its earnings report. Meanwhile, AT&T (NYSE: T  ) is set to report its own results after the closing bell today. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Boeing headed for a rough landing?

Source: Boeing Media Library.

On first glance, Boeing's second-quarter results don't justify the stock's big drop. The company's net profit surged by 52% year over year, smashing expectations, while the 1.1% revenue climb just just missed Wall Street's projections. Boeing also gave its investors some optimism going forward, raising its full-year earnings guidance substantially. For shareholders tired of the stock's 7% drop so far this year, it was a positive note heading into the back end of 2014.

However, Wall Street zeroed in on the negatives of Boeing's report. The aviation giant recorded a $272 million after-tax expense for its KC-46A military tanker for the quarter. That drew concerns among analysts over such a high cost early in the program's development and sparked fears of potential cost overruns to keep the tanker on track.

Still, for a stock that has taken a beating in 2014, Boeing has plenty of momentum. The company's commercial aerospace business continues to thrive, with a 5% revenue gain and 181 plane deliveries in the quarter. The company has racked up 783 new commercial jet orders already this year. So while Boeing's defense business is lagging, its potential in commercial aerospace seems limitless given the market's projected growth. Today's drop looks like a great opportunity for savvy investors rather than a major cause for long-term concern.

Fellow Dow member AT&T's stock has held steady so far today as investors prepare for the telecom's earnings report following the conclusion of the trading day. Analysts project 3.6% year-over-year revenue growth for its most recent quarter, even as Wall Street on average expects a slight drop in per-share earnings.

Investors need to keep a close eye on AT&T's subscriber growth, particularly as chief rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) added 1.4 million net postpaid connections in its own second quarter. The majority of that came through tablet growth, as Verizon added just over 300,000 new postpaid phone subscribers. Still, it's a huge gain by Verizon overall as record tablet growth flows into the company's corner. If AT&T can't post better than expected subscriber growth of its own, it risks falling further behind its largest competitor.

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Dan Carroll

Dan began writing for the Motley Fool in 2012. He is a health care specialist who also follows the defense industry along with tracking the broader U.S. and international markets.

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9/2/2015 4:36 PM
^DJI $16351.38 Up +293.03 +1.82%
BA $130.63 Up +3.19 +2.50%
The Boeing Company CAPS Rating: ****
T $32.82 Up +0.50 +1.55%
AT&T CAPS Rating: ****
VZ $45.35 Up +0.45 +1.00%
Verizon Communicat… CAPS Rating: ****