Dow Waits on Crimea Vote as AT&T Takes Leap; United Tech, Boeing Climb

The Dow Jones Industrials has suffered four straight days of losses, and given the magnitude of yesterday's 231-point drop, this morning's 18-point drop as of 11 a.m. EDT won't instill confidence among shell-shocked investors. With a referendum Sunday in Crimea giving residents a voice regarding the territorial conflict between Ukraine and Russia, investors worry that no matter the outcome, tensions will likely rise as Western nations consider economic sanctions against Russia and threats of military action grow. Those tensions likely contributed to the rise in defense-oriented Dow stocks Boeing and United Technologies , but for AT&T , positive news came from the corporate front.

United Technologies gained 0.6% Friday morning, recovering some of the ground it lost yesterday. On Thursday, the conglomerate gave investors its outlook for 2014, reaffirming the guidance it had previously given on earnings and revenue. Investors yesterday focused largely on United Tech's short-term forecast, which fell short of what they had hoped to see from the manufacturer of aircraft components, elevator equipment, and HVAC systems. Yet United Tech said that by 2020, it could see revenue closer to $100 billion, more than 50% above current levels, and that bodes well for long-term prospects.

Boeing rose more sharply, gaining 1.2%. With no resolution to the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines 777 aircraft, Boeing will likely see another round of investigations from the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators. Yet between the possible need for a heightened state of military awareness and continuing strong commercial order flow, Boeing's long-term prospects still ook favorable for the long run, and investors seem to be focusing on that fact today.

Finally, the Federal Communications Commission approved AT&T's acquisition of Leap Wireless. As a result, AT&T closed on the purchase today, giving it access to customers of Leap's Cricket brand and boosting AT&T's pay-as-you-go exposure. Another valuable asset from Leap is the spectrum its network uses, which AT&T hopes to employ to boost its own network-expansion efforts. AT&T shares dropped a bit, but the long-term impact of the deal could help the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier in its ongoing competitive battle with Verizon and the other players in the industry.

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