It looks like large-cap technology stocks, especially those related to online businesses, are experiencing a slowing down of what’s traditionally been some very solid growth.
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Netflix, Inc. (NFLX), LinkedIn Corporation (LNKD), and Groupon, Inc. (GRPN) have all been under pressure.
Many pure-play online businesses are still struggling to turn a profit, and investor sentiment towards these stocks has changed.
Yet in this marketplace, dividend-paying blue chips continue to look good, and there’s been a resurgence in many large-cap share prices, many of which sold off before their earnings.
3M Company (MMM) had a very solid quarter; so did Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Union Pacific Corporation (UNP), NIKE, Inc. (NKE), and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT).
The list isn’t perfect, but it does go on—and that’s the important news in this market. Stocks that were previous winners since the market breakout in early 2013 are still of interest to institutional investors.
Of note, Union Pacific, which is a great benchmark stock even if you aren’t interested in owning a railroad business, leapt 15% higher on the stock market to another new record-high after reporting very good results.
Railroad stocks have been hot. Union Pacific is powering ahead in its revenues, earnings, cash position, and shareholders’ equity. (See “Why the Old School Dow Theory Still Applies.”)
Plus, the company is buying back its own shares with tremendous fervor. By the end of the third quarter, this calendar year, Union Pacific repurchased 24,307,000 shares and still has 95,693,000 to go under the current program, which expires December 21, 2017.
In its most recent quarter, total freight shipments grew 11% comparatively, accelerating from this year’s previous two quarters.
The third quarter of 2014 represented the company’s best quarter ever, driven by both volume and pricing gains.
By all accounts, it was a tremendous quarter for an otherwise mature enterprise. The railroad business is still a very good business to be in.
At Union Pacific, industrial products, agriculture, and intermodal shipments grew in the mid- to high double-digits over the comparable quarter last year. This is substantial comparable growth and a sign that the company will likely finish off the fourth quarter of 2014 with another record quarter.
Companies miss Wall Street consensus all the time. But looking beyond expectations, virtually all North American railroad companies are posting record results with significant improvement over comparable periods in the last few years.