Today was one of those days where the Dow Jones Industrial Average did something very different from the rest of the market.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,414.4 (-44.1, -0.2%)
- S&P 500: 1,843.8 (+5.1, +0.2%)
- Nasdaq: 4,225.7 (+28.1, +0.6%)
And now the top stories:
- There were no economic data reports released today. Today's action was all about earnings. And three big Dow stocks dropped after reporting earnings.
- Insurance giant Travelers Companies fell 1.7% after reporting Q4 earnings that were actually stronger than expected. Earnings surged to $2.68 per share beating expectations for $2.16. Insurance companies across the board benefited from weather that was much calmer than a year ago.
- Verizon posted $0.66 EPS, beating the Wall Street consensus by a penny. The company added 1.7 million retail wireless customers. On the earnings conference call, the CFO said government spending had fallen by double-digits. Generally speaking, the analyst community thought the report was decent and in line with expectations. Still, the Dow stock fell 1.3%.
- Johnson & Johnson beat earnings expectations by $0.04 per share. Worldwide pharmaceutical sales climbed 11.8% to $7.2 billion. Medical devices and diagnostic products sales climbed 1.5% to $7.3 billion. But management guided 2014 estimates toward the lower end of market expectations. JNJ fell 1.1%.
- So far, earnings season has been pretty disappointing. Through Friday, just 57% of companies have reported earnings that beat analysts' estimates. This is way below the 4-year average run rate of 73% according to FactSet's John Butters.
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