And the winners are?
First, I don't want to be oblivious. You have to have good numbers to tell a good story. Companies that miss on either the top or bottom line aren't going to be able to mimic these two companies.
Second, managements of both Norfolk Southern and Boeing had the benefit of listening to other companies totally blow it when they told their stories.
For example, Lockheed Martin (LMT) Tuesday raised guidance substantially but started talking about how cash from operations guidance was a tad disappointing and would not be raised. The coup de grace came when Bruce Tanner, the CFO, said "We expect cash from operations in the next two quarters to be much lower than our historical results. In fact, we could see negative cash from operations in the second quarter."
Why not stick an ice pick into the investors' while you are at it. That was pretty much the end of the call for any bull on the stock. LMT has been a terrific stock to own under President Trump but we have seen the company have some trouble making the joint strike fighter or even having difficulties making the new helicopter for the Marines.
But Boeing, the nation's number-two defense contractor to Lockheed Martin, told a story that was actually the exact opposite to its bigger brother. The company went out of its way to say that its cash flow is burgeoning, its orders are terrific and multi year. CEO Dennis Muilenberg also pointed out that he's seen no real inflation in materials -- something that's been all the buzz with so many companies -- and he's used to handling the global tensions whether they be Iran, where some big orders are on hold, or China, which is in the balance right now because of our president's decision to fight back in a trade war.
No wonder it's leading the market.
And Norfolk Southern? Unlike Caterpillar (CAT) , which basically called the top in its stock by saying that the first quarter would be the high-water mark in margins, Norfolk made a point to say that its expenses are coming down and its orders are going way up and, if you read it closely, you come back and say "the sky's the limit.
This call was the anti-CAT call right down to an analyst who asked about CAT's high-water mark gaffe and if Norfolk Southern's results could be anything like that.
CEO Jim Squires dispatched the question easily talking about margin expansion, expenses coming down, an unbelievable, growing book of business and a competitive advantage over trucks even when it comes to e-commerce.
It was a tour de force.
And that's how Boeing's stock could roar 13 points and Norfolk Southern's stock soared 10 points.
That's how you do it. Congratz to both companies.