The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) gained an insignificant one point in pre-market trading, suggesting a flat start to the stock market today. Even with that quiet beginning, the trading session will be anything but boring -- dozens of companies are set to post earnings, and the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its latest interest rate policy decision at 2 p.m EDT.
With just over half of all S&P 500 companies having reported first-quarter results so far, overall earnings are on track to rise by 0.6%, better than the 1.6% decline that was expected back in March, according to FactSet. Revenue growth is also tracking higher than anticipated, which is a big reason why the Dow is sitting within 50 points of its all-time high.
Winter weather took a huge bite out of Lumber Liquidator's quarterly profit. The hardwood flooring retailer booked sales of just $246 million, below the $262 million that Wall Street had expected. Earnings also surprised to the downside: $0.49 a share against analysts' estimate of $0.62. Management blamed the weather for the shortfall, saying that locations that were not in the regions hit by brutal winter storms actually posted a comparable-store sales gain of 8.5%, while the stores unlucky enough to be in the storms' paths saw comps of negative 13%. This led customers purchasing plans being "interrupted or completely suspended" in many cases, CEO Robert Lynch explained in a press release accompanying the results. Lumber Liquidators affirmed its full-year sales guidance of $1.2 billion, which would be an 18% increase over 2013. The stock was down 3% in pre-market trading.
If anything, bad weather seemed to have the opposite effect on Time Warner's business. The entertainment giant today posted strong earnings results after people ramped up their TV and movie watching over the winter months. Revenue improved by 10% and earnings grew to $0.91 a share. Both the top and bottom lines were ahead of analysts' estimates. Time Warner logged gains across its portfolio, with HBO revenue up 9% on huge interest in Game of Thrones, and Turner broadcasting sales up 5% thanks to the popularity of this year's NCAA tournament content. The movie business also kicked in 14% more revenue, led by the blockbuster releases of The Lego Movie and 300: Rise of an Empire. Each of these business lines looks poised to continue growing, CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a press release, after what he described as a "very strong start to 2014." The stock was up 1% in pre-market trading.