The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has gained a modest 32 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a positive start to the stock market today. Still, plenty of individual stocks will see big price swings even in a relatively quiet market. With that in mind, let's take a look at two Dow giants that should see heavy trading in today's session: Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).
Coca-Cola today posted a 4% drop in quarterly profit to $0.44 a share. As expected, revenue dipped by 4% as well, to $10.5 billion. The beverage giant booked a decent 2% volume growth figure, which was an improvement over last quarter's 1% result. However, that's still well below Coke's 3% to 4% long-run goal.
The culprit again was flat volume in its North America region, which was likely held back by flagging sales of Diet Coke. Still, the company in the first quarter was able to increase prices by 2% globally while still gaining market share, showing off the power of its brand. Coke said it intends to spend as much as $3 billion buying back its own shares this year. The stock was up 2.5% in pre-market trading.
Johnson & Johnson today beat Wall Street forecasts for its first-quarter results on both the top and bottom lines. Sales improved by 3.5% to $18.1 billion while profit jumped by 7% to $1.54 a share. Analysts had expected the pharmaceutical giant to report earnings of $1.48 a share on revenue of $18 billion. J&J booked solid sales growth for its Zyrtec allergy drug in the quarter, while strong sales of its Listerine brand boosted international revenue. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical business leapt higher by 11% in the quarter, helped by blockbuster new drugs such as Olysio, which treats hepatitis C, and Invokana for type 2 diabetes. The company boosted its earnings guidance for the full year to $5.85 a share, slightly above the $5.80 that Wall Street is expecting. Johnson & Johnson's stock was up 2.3% in pre-market trading.
Meanwhile, investors will get an update on the housing market today when the National Association of Home Builders publishes its latest index reading. The index was flat in March, at 47, but improving spring weather probably helped it climb to 51 for April. Look for that report to be released at 10 a.m EDT.