Investors can expect a positive start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has gained 48 points in pre-market trading. Wall Street could follow global markets higher today: European stocks were up by a solid 0.8% as of 7:30 a.m EDT.
Meanwhile, earnings season continues to give investors a torrent of fresh information to digest. Corning (NYSE:GLW) and National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV) both reported first-quarter results before the opening bell this morning and are on the move in pre-market trading.
National Oilwell Varco booked first-quarter earnings today that broadly matched analysts' expectations. The oil and gas industry services company's revenue rose by 9% to $5.78 billion, while profit climbed to $1.37 a share from last year's $1.17. Wall Street had been looking for sales of $5.8 billion and earnings of $1.38 a share. NOV's rig technology business led the way higher this quarter, posting a 14% rise in revenue. Backlog for that unit also hit an all-time high of over $16 billion, up 27% from the same period last year. CEO Clay Williams said in a press release accompanying the results that demand for oil-field equipment remained high in the quarter, and that the company was "encouraged" to see a boost in activity from land drilling and well service firms. NOV is also looking forward to spinning off its distribution business sometime in the current quarter. The stock was down 0.7% in pre-market trading.
Corning said this morning that first-quarter sales jumped by 26% to hit $2.3 billion. Even better news for shareholders, though, was the company's $0.31 a share in profit, which was slightly ahead of expectations and represented Corning's sixth-consecutive quarter of per-share earnings growth. The main driver behind the sales boost this time for the maker of glass and other materials was a jump in its display technologies business. That unit booked a 58% revenue spike after being consolidated with another business line.
As expected, profit was dragged down again this quarter by a big drop in LCD prices. In fact, those priced fell harder than they had in recent quarters. However, CFO James Flaws sounded a positive note about the outlook. He said in a press release that LCD prices should firm up in the quarters ahead, helping the company book "improved results throughout the year." Corning's stock was up 3.2% in pre-market trading.