The Dow Jones Industrials Average
- Bank of America: The banking giant reported before market open today and beat on analysts estimates, but shares saw only a tepid rise on the news. Ultimately, it looks like investors were hoping for more direction regarding a larger sector recovery. We saw this same performance recently when JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo reported, so it's none too surprising, but does show that investors are still leery about an extended banking run.
- Dupont: Dupont is trading slightly lower today despite beating estimates. The company saw strong performance from agriculture sales, fueled by passing on higher prices. The enthusiasm from the 12% rise in revenue was likely snuffed by the fact that it came from 2% lower volume. Should volume continue to trend downward, it could spell trouble in the future. The company's fastest-growing segment right now is Latin America, so tune into any macroeconomic swings there if you're looking at Dupont today.
- Microsoft: The manufacturer of the ubiquitous Windows operating system and Microsoft Office suite is reporting after the bell today. Shares are trading more than 1% higher on anticipation of a strong showing. Analysts are looking for $0.57 EPS, narrowly higher than last year's. Despite going on an impressive run in 2012 year-to-date, the future of Microsoft is still largely uncertain. It is betting the farm on its mobile and desktop integrated operating system, Windows 8. The product has received lukewarm reviews thus far, but is still in the early stages. If the system is a flop – hello, Vista 2.0 -- investors would have to re-evaluate their models of the company.
- Travelers: While typically the most-forgotten Dow stock, Travelers reported before market open today and is making waves. The company is up 4.9% in early morning trading after a strong showing. The company raised business renewal rates 8%, and raised its dividend 12%. The stock was mostly flat for 2011, and had some unmodeled events last year that dinged performance, but now appears to be back on track. Keep an eye out for any other unmodeled catastrophes that could hurt payouts going forward.
- Verizon: The telecom company impressed the Street today with data revenue, and jumped 2% as a result. While often labeled as a "commodity stock," with little expectation for market outperformance in the years ahead, Verizon is positioned as the slightly stronger of two titans in a domestic duopoly. They aren't going away anytime soon, and pay a great dividend to boot. As a long-term buy and hold, you could certainly do worse.
The best approach
As you can see, earnings undoubtedly move the market, but to play them right you've got to know what to look for. That's why our analysts researched the 5 Stocks Investors Need to Watch This Earnings Season. You can learn more about these stocks by clicking here. Enjoy, and fool on!
Austin Smith does not own shares of any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase. The Fool owns shares of and has created a covered strangle position in Wells Fargo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Wells Fargo and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.