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Stock Market Today: Honeywell’s Big Plans and Brown-Forman’s Profit Spike

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos – Mar 5, 2014 at 9:00AM

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Why Honeywell, Brown-Forman, and Navistar stocks are on the move today.

Investors can expect a flat start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.64%) has gained an insignificant one point in pre-market trading. After two straight days of 2% swings, stocks in Europe took a break from Ukraine-fueled volatility: European shares fell only slightly in overnight trading.

Next up on today's economic calendar is a fresh report that is expected to show steady expansion in the services industry in February. The Institute for Supply Management reading should come in at 53.5 when it is released at 10 a.m. EST. Any reading of more than 50 indicates growth.

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Chart

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index data by YCharts.

Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on several stocks that could see heavy trading in today's session, including Honeywell (HON 0.53%), Brown-Forman (BF.B -0.51%), and Navistar (NAV).

Ahead of its investor meeting later today, Honeywell updated shareholders on both its short-term and long-term outlook for the business. The conglomerate expects to nearly double its free cash flow over the next five years while also improving earnings at a double-digit annual pace and pushing sales to more than $50 billion. The company's leading market position in key, high-margin industries is the reason why management is so confident that it can continue to outperform. Honeywell also affirmed its guidance for 2014, saying that sales should grow by 3% as profits rise by 10%. The stock is up 0.9% in pre-market trading.

Brown-Forman announced this morning that sales improved by 5% in its fiscal third quarter, to $1.1 billion, as profit jumped by 14% to $0.82 a share. Analysts had expected sales of $1.1 billion and earnings of $0.76 a share. The alcoholic beverage maker saw solid growth in many of its key brands, including a 10% rise in Jack Daniels and Finlandia products. The company also slightly boosted its earnings outlook for next quarter, saying that it now expects to earn about $3 a share for its full fiscal year. Brown-Forman's stock is unchanged in pre-market trading.

Finally, Navistar this morning booked disappointing results for its fiscal first quarter. The heavy-duty vehicle producer saw sales fall 16% to $2.2 billion -- well below the $2.6 billion that Wall Street expected. Navistar's quarterly loss, at $3.05 a share, was also much bigger than expected. The company was hurt by a drop in military spending, particularly on tactical wheeled vehicles. Still, it saw a healthy 56% boost in order backlog. Navistar's stock is down 2.8% in pre-market trading.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.

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