Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
Earnings season continues as stocks opened lower on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 and the narrower Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) down 0.03% and 0.27%, respectively, at 10:15 a.m. EST. One Dow component, conglomerate United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), announced its fourth-quarter results before the market opened, while streaming video provider Netflix will provide the day's most anticipated report after market close this afternoon.
United Technologies' earnings came in ahead of Wall Street's expectations, with earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.58 versus a consensus estimate of $1.53, according to Thomson Reuters. However, revenue of $16.76 billion (a 1.9% year-on-year increase) was lower than the $17.09 billion Wall Street was looking for.
The earnings "beat" was enough to send the shares of United Technologies up 0.83% at 10:15 a.m. EST, even as the Dow is in the red. The market is forward-looking and United Technologies Chairman and CEO Louis Chenevert gave investors something to look forward to with guidance for fiscal 2014. Chenevert stated that "we are confident in our ability to deliver 2014 earnings per share of $6.55 to $6.85 on sales of approximately $64 billion."
At the midpoint of that range, the company would achieve 8% earnings growth on 2% revenue growth. Nothing earth-shattering, to be sure, but it's an honest figure and I have greater confidence that the company can achieve it than in the S&P 500 achieving its bottom-up earnings target.
Dow component IBM (NYSE:IBM) is pulling the index lower this morning after the release yesterday of its fourth-quarter results. While the technology services provider managed to beat expectations on earnings, investors are focusing on the 5% year-on-year revenue decline -- the seventh consecutive quarterly drop. Investors are penalizing the stock for that trend, pushing the shares down 3.33%. IBM carries the second-largest weighting in the Dow, which partially explains the index's drop and divergence with the S&P 500 this morning.
While the market's reaction is not unexpected, it is providing patient investors the opportunity to buy the shares not much above (~+5%) the price Warren Buffett paid in constituting one of Berkshire Hathaway's top equity positions.
Fool contributor Alex Dumortier, CFA has no position in any stocks mentioned; you can follow him on Twitter @longrunreturns. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines. 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.