After a series of slightly depressing economic data releases, investors have a reason to rejoice today after second-quarter GDP was revised from 1.7% to 2.5% -- better than the consensus estimate of 2.2%. That seems to have given the market a little strength today, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) is up 0.34% as of 2:45 P.M. EDT. There was some other big news inside and outside the Dow today. Here are some of the movers and shakers.
Verizon is the biggest winner in the Dow today, up 2.3% after announcing it is in negotiations with Vodafone to buy its 45% stake in U.S. joint partnership Verizon Wireless. The deal, expected to be worth well more than $100 billion, has been discussed for years, and there is still no guarantee of its success -- although this announcement makes analysts think it's much closer to completion.
This will affect the two in much different ways. Vodafone will receive a decent lump sum of cash, but the deal's true value to Vodafone will depend on how the company chooses to spend that cash. On Verizon's end, owning 100% of Verizon Wireless would simplify its cash flow and could help the company support its dividend or debt payments. Strategically, it may not impact Verizon very much, as it already owns a controlling interest in the joint venture. Ultimately, if Verizon ends up overpaying for total ownership of the joint venture, it simply loses in this deal -- which is why negotiations regarding price have gone on for years.
Boeing is also another big winner in the Dow today, up 1.7% after Canada's WestJet Airlines ordered 65 next-generation 737 MAX jets worth $6.3 billion at today's prices. That's just the latest in a pretty successful season of new orders, including the 265 orders during the Paris Air Show in June, valued at $24.7 billion. Moreover, those were just the firm orders; there was another $36.6 billion worth of commitments during the show.
Despite a slow global recovery, Boeing has raised its forecast for pilot hiring as airlines around the world continue to expand their fleets. It had already raised its forecast for global aircraft demand to 35,000 commercial units in 20 years -- worth an estimated $4.8 trillion. The global aviation industry appears to have a long way to fly, and it should help Boeing offset defense cuts by the U.S. government.
Outside the Dow, Campbell Soup is a big loser today, down 2.6% after fourth-quarter results revealed a $158 million loss, which was worse than last year's results. That said, with special items excluded, earnings per share actually increased over the same time period, while sales improved by 13% -- even though they still missed expectations.
There are a couple things to keep in mind here. Consider that the fourth quarter tends to be soft, because people generally don't cook up a hot bowl of soup during the summer -- at least I don't. Also note that Campbell's still owns roughly 60% of the wet-soup segment in the U.S. and doesn't look ready to give up its position anytime soon. Further, Campbell's margin in the simple-meals segment is above 20% and could improve as the company continues to focus on improving its cost structure.
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