Can stocks make it four-for-four? The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) notched its third consecutive record high close yesterday and has a shot at four in a row with a gain in today's session. First-quarter earnings results have been generally better than expected, giving stocks a boost as we head into the lower-volume summer months. Still, the Dow was down 16 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a negative start to the stock market today.
Deere announced first-quarter results that beat expectations on profit but fell short on revenue. Sales dropped by 9% to $9.9 billion, which was worse than the 6% slide Wall Street was targeting. As expected, lower farm incomes put pressure on equipment sales, especially Deere's larger models. But cost reductions and higher prices helped protect earnings: profit slipped just 4% to $2.65 a share. CEO Samuel Allen said in a press release accompanying the results that the company is "well-positioned to deliver solid financial results" despite a weak sales environment. Deere's updated outlook calls for revenue to fall by 4% throughout the year. The stock was down 1.4% in pre-market trading.
SodaStream today booked flat sales growth for its first quarter. The at-home soda machine maker's revenue came in at $117 million, up a scant 0.5% from last year's tally. Those results reflected a "challenging holiday season" in the United States, CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in a press release. "A mess" was the way my Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz put it yesterday.
The challenges that Birnbaum mentioned showed up in SodaStream's starter kit sales, which plunged by 25% in the quarter, and in its profitability, which slipped by more than 2 percentage points to 52.3% of sales. The good news for investors, though, is that sales of syrups and other consumables rose by a healthy 15%, suggesting that usage remains high among customers who have already purchased their machines. SodaStream's biggest challenge is to get its starter kits back on a growth path. The company affirmed its full-year guidance that pegs earnings growth of 3% on 15% higher sales. SodaStream's stock was down 3.8% in pre-market trading.
Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of SodaStream. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.