Stocks look set for a rough start today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.27%) lost 55 points, or 0.4%, in premarket trading this morning. With about 25% of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported fourth-quarter earnings so far, stocks are on pace to log overall earnings growth of slightly more than 6%, which may not be enough to keep investors happy after last year's huge market gains. Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on a few stocks that could see heavy trading in today's session, including McDonald's (MCD 1.12%), IBM (IBM 1.11%), and Lockheed Martin (LMT 1.26%).
McDonald's this morning announced fourth-quarter earnings results that showed the fast-food giant is still struggling to book growth. Comparable-store sales fell by 0.1% globally and by a disappointing 1.4% in the United States. Profit ticked higher by $0.02 to $1.40 a share, thanks to lower costs and a declining share count. After a forgettable 2013 in which sales barely budged, management warned that challenges remain and that 2014 is off to a flat start so far. McDonald's stock is down 0.5% in premarket trading.
IBM announced today that it has agreed to sell its x86 server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion. The move is part of IBM's strategy to focus more on higher margin services and to make major investments in areas like cognitive computing and the cloud. Lenovo will now hold a bigger piece of market share for its server business. It will pay for the business with $2 billion in cash, with the remainder coming in stock. IBM's shares, which fell after the information technology giant reported disappointing earnings yesterday, are unchanged in premarket trading.
Finally, Lockheed Martin today booked a drop in fourth-quarter revenue to $11.5 billion, significantly below last year's $12.1 billion result but slightly above what Wall Street expected. Sales fell in each of the company's five major business lines. Profit also shrank in the quarter, to $1.50 a share, hurt by a number of special charges that reduced net income. Lockheed expects 2014 to be roughly flat, with sales coming in at $45 billion, on par with last year's result. The stock is down 1% in premarket trading.