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Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Earnings Season Heats Up, but Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) Cools Off

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)Editor’s note: This article was originally published yesterday, after market close.

Stocks continued to fall today on some disappointing economic data, and some earnings misses. As a result, The Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow Jones Indices:.DJI) finished down 0.6%. The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing report for the mid-Atlantic region showed a reading of 1.3 in April, its first drop in seven months. Economists had expected an improvement from 2.0 in March, to 2.5. Meanwhile, initial unemployment claims last week totaled 352,000, slightly below expectations of 355,000, but still above last week’s total, and seems to indicate that the downward trend a few weeks ago has stalled. The two reports seem to confirm that federal budget cuts and the payroll tax hike are slowing the economic recovery. Disappointing guidance from eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) last night also seems to hint at slower-than-expected consumption.

Four Dow stocks reported earnings today with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) releasing in the morning, and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) coming in after hours.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) shares were under the weather today, falling 3.8%, after the insurance giant said it could get hit by Medicare cuts, which could be reduced by as much as 4%. That revenue would come on top of expected cost increases. For the first quarter, UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) said earnings dropped 14%, to $1.16 a share, but ahead of expectations of $1.14. Revenue grew 11%, to $30.34, slightly below, and the insurer maintained its full-year forecast of $5.25-$5.50 a share. The analyst consensus sits at $5.51 a share.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), meanwhile, jumped 2.8% to a 12-year high after the nation’s No. 1 wireless provider reported wireless revenue increasing at a rapid pace. Earnings per share moved up from $0.58 a share year ago, to $0.69 a share, and revenue improved 4%. Analysts had expected just $0.66 a share. The telecom’s number of smartphone activations dropped from 9.8 million in Q4 2012, to 7.2 million in Q1 2013, helping to beef up profits, as those phones often come with subsidies from the provider.

After hours, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares jumped 2.6% after the Windows-maker topped Wall Street estimates with a $0.72 profit per share on expectations of $0.68 a share. Adjusting for deferred revenue, sales increased 8% in the quarter, to $19.8 billion. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) also touted a new release of a seven-inch tablet, soon to hit the market, designed to compete with the iPad Mini and Kindle Fire.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) was not as lucky, though, as shares were off 4.4% after hours. The tech-services specialist reported a 1% drop in net income on delays in software and mainframe sales. For the quarter, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) earned $2.70 a share, up from $2.61 a year ago, as per-share profits have been inflated due to share buybacks. Revenue also dropped 5% in the period, way below the Street’s view, which was no change. Adjusted earnings of $3.00 also missed the analyst consensus at $3.05 a share.

The article Earnings Season Heats Up, but Dow Cools Off originally appeared on and is written by Jeremy Bowman.

Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends eBay and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). The Motley Fool owns shares of eBay, International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM)., and Microsoft.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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