Two Dow components reported third-quarter results this morning (no others will report today):
- Despite an increase in pension expense representing $0.18 per share, aircraft manufacturer Boeing (NYSE:BA) came in well ahead of expectations, earning $1.35 per share against a consensus estimate of $1.12. Revenue was in line with expectations. Boeing raised guidance (which deserves an emphasis in this environment) for the full year to a range of $4.80 to $4.95, higher than the previous range of $4.40 to $4.60 and a consensus estimate of $4.72. Boeing shares are up 1.4% as of 10:05 a.m. EDT.
- AT&T (NYSE:T) also beat expectations, earning $0.61 per share -- $0.03 ahead of the consensus estimate. The company raised its full-year free-cash-flow estimate by $2 billion to $18 billion! Nevertheless, shares are down about 1% as of 10:05 a.m. EDT.
Despite the beat, one investor who won't be buying AT&T shares is Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B) CEO Warren Buffett. He rejected the suggestion from a CNBC host this morning on the basis that he doesn't know what the business "will look like five or ten years from now." Instead, he revealed that he has bought shares of Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) over the past week (Berkshire is already the bank's top shareholder). Wells Fargo certainly meets Buffett's "predictability" criteria: He knows, with a high degree of certainty, that in 10 years' time, people will still need basic banking services. And Wells Fargo will be there to take in deposits and lend them out to consumers and businesses. (It's already the country's largest mortgage lender.)
Yes, banks face a more onerous regulatory environment now than prior to the financial crisis and profitability will not return to pre-crisis levels, but Buffett believes that they are "still a good business." These are the same reasons for which our very own Anand Chokkavelu calls Wells Fargo "The Only Big Bank Built to Last." To receive his free report explaining why it's a buy today, just click here.