Now that earnings season is in full swing, investors are rightfully focusing the majority of their attention on what really matters: earnings reports. A number of the biggest companies reported today, and for the most part, the numbers look good. Positive results from Johnson & Johnson helped pull the health-care industry higher, while Goldman Sachs gave investors reason to believe in the financial industry.
With strong first-quarter results, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) made a 180 from yesterday's 265-point drop and rose 157 points, or 1.08%, today. And after losing more than the Dow yesterday, the other major indexes gained more than the blue-chip average today, as the S&P 500 rose by 1.43% and the Nasdaq climbed higher by 1.5% today.
Today's big Dow winners
Despite the worst-ever report on PC shipments last week, in anticipation for the release of its earnings report after the market closed today, shares of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) rose 2.5% during the regular trading session. Investors were expecting a 23% decline in earnings per share, but the actual fall was 27%, as the company earned only $2 billion during the first quarter. The company performed slightly better on revenue, which only fell 2.3% from the same time frame last year to $12.6 billion this past quarter. As of this writing, shares are up another 0.62% in the after-hours session.
With advance ticket sales of Iron Man 3 currently postponed by the second largest U.S. cinema chain, and a postponed news conference between ESPN and the Southeastern Conference today, shares of ESPN's parent and the owner of the Marvel franchise, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), still managed to gain 3.18% today. Yesterday, shares of the entertainment company fell 2.76%, on what I noted as an overreaction to the poor news out of China. I also commented yesterday that, because of the unwarranted decline, now was a good time to purchase shares.
Certainly in this case, a good opportunity came and went in the blink of an eye, but that doesn't mean individuals looking for a solid company to invest in should shy away from Disney. While it may be beneficial to wait for a more attractive price than what shares are selling at today, if you're willing to hold on to the stock for at least five years, you'll probably come out ahead even if you end up paying $60 per share.
Another big Dow winner today was Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), which saw its shares rocket 5.69% higher. The company announced better-than-expected revenue and earnings for the first quarter this morning. Revenue came in at $11.04 billion, which was 1% lower than the same time frame last year, but still better than the $11.02 billion Wall Street was expecting. Earnings per share came in at $0.46, which was $0.01 better than last year and what analysts had expected.
The company also realized volume growth of 4% worldwide, although U.S. growth was only 3%. This should help reduce the concern that lower soda sales here at home are going to dramatically hurt the company.