The Good and the Bad of Earnings Season

The Good and the Bad of Earnings Season

As of 12:45 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 90 points, or 0.58%, to 15,560, which would be a new all-time closing high if the markets were to hold on to their gains. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has risen 0.48% and the Nasdaq is flat%. Now that we're getting into the thick of earnings season, stocks are moving based on real information, rather than rumors or macroeconomic events that may or may not impact business fundamentals.

The Dow is benefiting from strong earnings reports from IBM and UnitedHealth, which have helped the two companies add about 60 points to the index. However, a few big losers are holding the index at its current levels, so let's take a look at who they are.

Shares of American Express are down 3% this afternoon. The company reported expectation-beating second-quarter profit and revenue more or less in line with estimates, but the stock was soon downgraded for the second time in just a few days. Buckingham lowered its rating yesterday, and today Susquehanna lowered its call on the stock from "positive" to "neutral." Additionally, the company still faces the possibility that the European Commission's plan to limit credit and debit card transaction fees will be approved.

Intel is taking a big hit today, down 4%. The company released earnings last night, and although it matched estimates for earnings per share and just barely missed revenue estimates of $12.9 billion with sales of $12.8 billion, investors are selling off the stock today. The most likely cause of that move is that management is forecasting lower third-quarter revenue than Wall Street was expecting -- $13.5 billion versus $13.7 billion. Additionally, when the last quarter is compared to the second quarter of last year, when EPS was at $0.54 and revenue came in 5% higher, today's stock price decline makes sense.

Lastly, shares of Verizon are down 1.7% today after the company released earnings that were not terrible but surely didn't impress. Revenue came in at $29.8 billion, while analysts were estimating $29.83 billion, and earnings per share rose to $0.73, just above expectations of $0.72 per share. Although these numbers looked good, revenue growth was lower than expected, and with the stock up 17% year to date, it was priced for perfection -- and that's not what investors saw in Verizon's report.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513. The Motley Fool recommends American Express, Intel, and UnitedHealth Group. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and International Business Machines.. 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.

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