What Investors Are Watching on the Dow Today

Today is going to be an exciting one for the Dow Jones Industrials Average (INDEX: ^DJI) . We have an impressive five components reporting earnings today, all of them looking to do so before market open. Here is a look and what to expect out of some of these market heavyweights today.

E.I. du Pont (NYS: DD) will be the first to report today, and is expected to post earnings of $0.33 per share. This is sharply lower than their year ago earnings of $0.50 per share. The company is roughly flat over the last twelve months, but is one of the Dow's stronger performers this year to date, posting a steady 8% gain. Look for any language about their titanium dioxide investments, or their recent Danisco acquisition as key drivers of the company going forward.

McDonald's (NYS: MCD) went on a tear to be the Dow's top performing stock of 2011. Many shareholders (like myself) are hoping they can repeat their performance in 2012, but one analyst thinks the title will go to one banking stock instead. Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.29, up from $1.16 last year. McDonalds typically meets or slightly exceeds estimates, so look for them to do so again today.

Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ) has started 2012 with a fizzle, ending down almost 1% when most of its Dow classmates have risen well into the black. Don't let that short-term view paint your expectations, though -- the company is expected to report $1.10 per share north of the $1.03 last year. If they perform as expected it will mark their 10th straight year-over-year gain in quarterly earnings per share. That's awesome performance. Anand Chokkavelu has been bullish on them for some time for reasons like this.

Verizon (NYS: VZ) is actually expected to post a slight retraction from their year ago EPS, down to $0.53 from $0.54. Given how much spectrum the company has purchased recently, not to mention the virtual duopoly they have with AT&T, I'm not shaken by a slight pullback versus last year. This is a company that's here for the long term, whether they happen to miss or beat today.

Travelers, the insurance mega-company, is tied with Cisco as new kids on the block. Both were added to the Dow in 2009. Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.52 per share, down from $1.89 per share.

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At the time thisarticle was published Austin Smith owns shares of McDonalds The Motley Fool owns shares of Cisco Systems and Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Cisco Systems, Johnson & Johnson, and McDonald's; and creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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