If the industrial sector were a movie, it would be called Planes Trains and Missiles Thursday morning, as strong earnings and upgraded outlooks, as well as an increasingly belligerent global zeitgeist, sent stocks higher.
Railroads were the best performing industrial stocks on Thursday after President Trump decided not to remove the U.S. from the NAFTA trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Like many issues that Trump promoted during the campaign and his few months in office, his jawboning on a promise to his supporters met political reality and failed to materialize. And, because of the huge trade between the NAFTA partners, much of it transported by rail, investors have been wary of the stocks.
Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific rose 4.2% to $90.42, and 3.1% to $113.40 respectively. Norfolk Southern shares rose 2%, to $120.19.
Call it missile guidance, or maybe it's missile envy.
Raytheon, the maker of the Patriot antimissile defense system, raised its full year 2017 earnings outlook as demand for that weapons system and others rose in the first quarter.
The company, which reported first-quarter earnings of $1.73 a share on Thursday, compared to $1.43 a year ago, and better than the $1.61 consensus FactSet analyst estimate, said that, "Solid revenue growth and margin expansion drove strong earnings per share performance in the first quarter, with all of our businesses meeting or exceeding expectations."
Boeing on Wednesday posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit and increased its full-year profit guidance thanks in part to a lower anticipated corporate tax rate.
Boeing said its first-quarter earnings came in at $2.01 a share, well ahead of the $1.91 estimate compiled by FactSet. Revenue for the period was $21 billion, the company said, modestly shy of the $21.33 billion FactSet consensus. Boeing also lifted its full-year core earnings guidance to between $9.20 and $9.40 a share for a previous estimate of $9.10 to 9.30.
"With a sharp focus on performance and productivity, our team delivered another quarter of solid financial results, including year-over-year earnings growth and strong operating cash flow," said CEO Dennis Muilenburg. "In turn, we continued to position Boeing for growth with two investments in new products and services, innovation, and our people, while again demonstrating our commitment to return significant cash to our shareholders."
Credit Suisse on Thursday issued a hold rating on the stock and maintained a $200 a share price target, implying about a ten upside in the share price. Boeing
Among other research opinions, Deutsche Bank raised its Boeing call to $205.00 from $195 and rates the plane maker's shares a buy.