We're in the midst of earnings season, and investors don't quite know what to take from the reports out today. Boeing's (NYSE:BA) stock is up 2.6% on strong results, AT&T (NYSE:T) met expectations and the stock dropped 5.2%, and Procter & Gamble's (NYSE:PG) weak guidance sent the stock 5% lower. Add it all up and you have a lot of movement among individual stocks, but broader markets have gone almost nowhere. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has fallen just 0.16% near the end of trading, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is up 0.14%.
Boeing's big move was driven by an earnings beat on both the top and bottom lines. Revenue fell 2.5% in the first quarter to $18.89 billion, but that was still ahead of the $18.8 billion estimate from Wall Street. When you pull out one-time items like pension fluctuations, the company made a profit of $1.73 per share, well ahead of the $1.49 estimate. Lower government spending is hurting the company's revenue, but it Boeing has done a good job controlling costs, especially when you consider the challenges the 787 Dreamliner has gone through recently.
AT&T is selling off on more evidence that the company is falling behind Verizon Wireless. Mobile-phone sales rose 3.4% to $16.7 billion in the quarter, whereas analysts expected 5.4% growth, and the company lost share to Verizon Wireless. The challenge for AT&T is that Verizon's network is larger, attracting more customers who are willing to pay for better service. To catch up, AT&T will have to spend billions of dollars upgrading its network, which would have negative near-term implications. AT&T isn't a bad company right now; it's just that Verizon Wireless is better.
Procter & Gamble's move was the most concerning for those looking at the overall economy. Organic growth was just 3% during the quarter, and net sales rose just 2% to $20.6 billion. This fell just short of estimates, and a cautious outlook has investors running for the hills today. Let's put the company's results into perspective, though. P&G makes consumer staples that may not be growing rapidly, but they aren't in decline either. The stock trades at 18 times earnings and pays a 3% dividend yield, so investors are getting a stable company and a payout 50% higher than Treasuries. It wasn't a good quarter for P&G, but it's not a quarter long-term investors should panic over, either.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Procter & Gamble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.