Sugar Crash Can't Stop Dow


After hovering just shy of the 14,000 mark for several days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally pushed above the milestone to close at 14,018, its highest finish since 2007. For the day, the blue chips gained 47 points, or 0.3%. An afternoon report showed that the Treasury reported a surprise surplus for January, thanks in part to the increase in payroll taxes. The government's coffers brought in a net gain of $2.88 billion, as opposed to the $2 billion deficit economists expected. The current budget year is expected to be the first since President Obama was elected to have a deficit of less than $1 trillion.

Despite the gains, Coca-Cola weighed on the blue chips today, falling 2.7% after reporting revenue under Wall Street expectations. The world's largest beverage company said sales increased 4% to $11.46 billion, but the experts had projected $11.54 billion. Profits, meanwhile, increased 13% to $0.41 a share, below estimates of $0.44. The eurozone recession put a dent into growth as overall volume on the continent declined 5%. Worldwide, volume sales increased 3%, led by emerging markets like India and Russia.

General Electric was making news after hours, jumping 3.4%, following its announcement that it will sell its remaining stake in NBCUniversal to Comcast for $16.7 billion. Comcast shares shot up 6.8% on the news. GE had held on to 49% ownership in the media company since Comcast's initial purchase and will also receive $1.4 billion as NBCUniversal buys out the properties it uses at the famed 30 Rockefeller Plaza, or the GE building. The deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter and will be funded with $11.4 billion cash, with a variety of debt facilities making up the remainder. GE said the sale will allow it to return more cash to shareholders and plans to buy back $10 billion worth of stock this year.

Finally, Cisco shares were also sliding, down 1.4% with earnings on deck tomorrow. The networking specialist has been on shopping spree of late, snapping up smaller enterprises in an attempt to find new growth opportunities. Investors seemed to have low expectations for tomorrow's report, however, as today's drop indicates. Analysts are projecting earnings per share of $0.49, just a penny better than the year-ago total, and are looking for sales growth of 4.6% to $12.06 billion.

There is absolutely no question that Coca-Cola has been great to long-term shareholders, but the company faces some new threats to its continued market dominance. We've recently compiled a premium research report containing everything you need to know about Coca-Cola. If you own or are thinking about buying shares in the company, you'll want to click here now and get started!

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Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems and Coca-Cola and owns shares of General Electric. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

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