The Power Players Behind The Dow Jones Rally

Wall Street was divided on Thursday, with much of the market giving up ground on concerns about the sustainability of massive upward moves in popular megacap stocks. Yet even though other benchmarks were largely down on the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) powered ahead and had picked up nearly 300 points as of 12:30 p.m. ET.

Two notable Dow stocks moved higher. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and IBM (IBM) both released their latest financial results, and investors were quite pleased with what they saw from both companies. Even though they haven't gotten the same level of attention as some of their Dow peers, J&J and IBM have plenty of prospects to sustain their business models and find new avenues for growth. Here's what the two companies had to say.

J&J looks healthier than ever

Shares of Johnson & Johnson were up 6.5% near midday on Thursday. The healthcare conglomerate reported second-quarter financial results that gave its shareholders just about everything they had wanted to see.

Growth at Johnson & Johnson was solid and clear during the quarter. Revenue of $25.53 billion was up more than 6% year over year. Adjusted net income of $7.36 billion climbed 6.5% from year-ago levels, and that produced adjusted earnings of $2.80 per share.

A look at J&J's segments provides some more color. Geographically, the U.S. market was the strongest for the company, with a better than 10% sales gain leading the business forward. The medical technology segment was the strongest performer under the Johnson & Johnson corporate umbrella, posting 12.9% growth in revenue, but the pharmaceutical and consumer health segments also managed to hold their own and carry their weight for the conglomerate.

Looking ahead, Johnson & Johnson has high hopes for its cancer treatments and new medical-device innovations in the coming year. Moreover, some shareholders are pleased that J&J plans to do an exchange offer allowing them to choose whether they prefer holding the spun-off Kenvue (KVUE) consumer health business or the other parts of the company.

IBM looks to the cloud

Shares of IBM were also higher, rising more than 3% Thursday afternoon. The tech giant has struggled for a long time, even as its industry peers have soared, but shareholders now have new hope that the company can finally hit its stride.

IBM's second-quarter financial results were far from perfect but did hold off fears of deeper weakness. Revenue eased lower by 0.4% year over year to $15.5 billion as declines in infrastructure-product sales outweighed gains in software and consulting revenue. Adjusted net income sank 5% from year-ago levels, working out to $2.18 per share in adjusted earnings.

IBM has based its strategy on higher growth potential from software and consulting and intends to keep moving in that direction. As CFO James Kavanaugh noted, the company's cash balance has allowed it to invest in organic growth efforts. The company also announced seven prospective acquisitions geared toward expanding its presence in the hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) areas.

Looking ahead, IBM believes it can keep funding its investment efforts, as it projects free cash flow to grow by more than $1 billion — to weigh in at $10.5 billion for 2023. With expectations of 3% to 5% sales growth after accounting for currency movements, IBM's growth isn't likely to accelerate quickly, but it would still be a welcome change from past setbacks for the one-time tech pioneer.

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