The stock market can't seem to make up its mind which way to move. Yesterday, Europe scared the pants off markets around the world, leading to some hefty declines. But this morning, earnings are back in the limelight, and while not all of the news was good, investors seem happy about it on balance. At around 11:00 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) were up more than 110 points, vaulting through the 13,000 level once more.
Among Dow stocks, IBM (NYS: IBM) was among the top performers, rising almost 2% to climb back above the $200-per-share level. The company raised its quarterly dividend to $0.85 per share, a 13% jump from its previous payout. The hike marks the 17th straight year that IBM has raised its dividends, and with a big jump in share prices as well over the years, investors have gotten impressive total returns from the tech giant.
AT&T (NYS: T) was the big gainer in the Dow, up more than 4% after its morning earnings announcement. EPS of $0.60 beat analysts' estimates, and although overall revenue growth was muted at 1.8% from last year, a big jump in data revenue shows how important smartphones and other devices have become for AT&T's sales. With churn rates at their lowest levels in nearly two years, AT&T is doing a better job of holding onto customers once the company gets them in the door, and that bodes well for its long-term prospects as it bounces back from its T-Mobile defeat.
Finally, Pfizer (NYS: PFE) rose 1.5%, reversing a small loss yesterday after announcing its deal to sell its infant-nutrition unit to Nestle for a whopping $11.85 billion. With the sale price coming in well above what most people expected, Pfizer is in the enviable position of having some extra cash on hand. It's unclear what the drug giant will do with the money, but as it looks at further strategic moves, it will certainly come in handy at some point.
It's all about earnings
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter here. The Motley Fool owns shares of IBM. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Pfizer. 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.
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