Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) has surged today on better-than-expected earnings, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is down as worries grow that Russia will invade eastern Ukraine and technology stocks continue their fall. As of 1:20 p.m. EDT the Dow is down 72 points, or 0.45%, to 16,100. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is down 0.54% to 1,821.
Coca-Cola is up 3.4% today after the company reported earnings that exceeded analysts' low expectations. Coca-Cola reported that its global soda volume fell for the first time in a decade. Coca-Cola has been diversifying its beverage portfolio. Its non-soda drinks, including Honest Tea, Powerade, Minute Maid, and others, covered for the soda drop with an 8% rise in volume, so overall global beverage volumes were up 2% for the year. Carbonated-beverage sales make up roughly 75% of the company's volume, so the big gain in non-fizzy drink volume was vital.
Coca-Cola is a worldwide company with 81% of its volume in foreign markets, so its results are hurt whenever the dollar strengthens. The company reported that earnings per share dropped 7.6% year over year to $0.36 per share. The stronger dollar accounted for 10% of the company's drop in profits. If you exclude some onetime items and the foreign currency movements, non-GAAP earnings came in at $0.48 per share, better than analyst expectations of $0.44 per share. Revenue dropped 4% year over year to $10.6 billion, beating analyst expectations of $10.5 billion. Investors have soured on Coca-Cola over the past year, and the stock has trailed the market by 20%. Nonetheless, the stock remains one of Warren Buffett's big holdings; you can read more on his thinking here.
Coca-Cola is one of only five Dow stocks up for the day. The Dow Jones today is falling as Ukraine moves troops to eastern Ukraine and Bloomberg reports that Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Vitali Yarema claimed on TV that Russia's 45th Airborne Regiment has been spotted in two separate towns. Overnight, President Obama spoke with President Putin to express his "grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, pro-Russian separatists." While U.S. companies do not have major operations in Ukraine, any unrest would have spillover effects around the world in terms of trade and the oil markets. The rising uncertainty is one of the reasons the Dow is down today.
The other main reason the stock market is down today is the broad drop in tech stocks. Stock market valuations have been high for some time now. Certain pockets, namely consumer online tech stocks and biotechs have been unbelievably overpriced.
Valuations in the tech sector and biotech sector have looked stretched for a while. Sentiment shifted this past month, and the tech sector as a whole has dropped, with the Nasdaq 100 down 5% over the past month versus a 0.6% in the S&P 500. This tech-sector slump has not hit the Dow quite so hard, as the Dow only includes tech stalwarts whose valuations have remained relatively unchanged.
Given all the recent volatility, it's a good time to focus on what's important. The Motley Fool has always believed that we should invest in great companies at good prices and hold them for years. The market will fluctuate (sometimes massively), but solid businesses will win out over the long run.