The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has gained 44 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a positive start to the stock market today. Global indexes won't provide any boost to Wall Street, as they were almost uniformly lower in overnight trading. Japan's Nikkei index posted a 3% loss and European stocks dropped for the fourth day in a row, down 1.1% as of 7:30 a.m. EDT.
Investors can expect another torrent of earnings reports to spur heavy trading in some stocks. More than 150 public companies will issue first-quarter earnings results throughout the day, with Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ) and Chesapeake Energy (OTC:CHKA.Q) having already delivered their numbers.
Mondelez announced some huge news in conjunction with its earnings results this morning: it is selling a 51% stake in its coffee business for roughly $5 billion. The deal will create a stand-alone coffee giant with over $7 billion in annual sales, and will also leave the company's business much more focused on snacks; 85% of revenue will come from snack products after the deal closes next year. The company plans to use most of the proceeds to fund a big increase in share repurchases.
Additionally, Mondelz announced a major organizational restructuring plan that will cost $3.5 billion to implement over the next four years, but should lead to a boost in profitability starting in 2016. As for those quarterly results, sales dipped slightly to $8.64 billion, which was even with analysts estimates, while profit improved to $0.39 a share, just ahead of the $0.34 that Wall Street had expected. The stock was up 9.3% in pre-market trading.
Chesapeake Energy this morning said that its first-quarter profit nearly doubled to $0.59 a share, which was well ahead of the $0.48 that analysts were expecting. That earnings boost was powered by a 72% spike in natural-gas prices during the cold winter, and by a solid 11% increase in production levels.
CEO Doug Lawler said in a press release accompanying the results that Chesapeake's cost and efficiency investments are now "driving tangible improvements in the company's growth profile and financial performance." Those gains included a 37% spike in operating cash flow and a 34% rise in adjusted EBITDA this past quarter. Thanks to the strong start to the year and improving energy prices, Chesapeake raised its outlook for several financial metrics, including production growth and operating cash flow. The stock was up 3.9% in pre-market trading.