Why the Markets Acted Like Nothing Happened

The markets traded flat today after seemingly months of high volatility, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) rising 3.25 points, or 0.24%.

The big reason the markets acted like nothing happened? It probably comes as a shock, since this seems like the first time since Angela Merkel became a household name, but investors didn't hear a lot of big news today. Expect more volatility in the future, but for the day enjoy the stability.

A couple of storylines played to a stalemate in the macro world. Manufacturing contracted unexpectedly in June, reports showed -- a first in three years. Obviously, this generated concern that the U.S. recovery is languishing. But optimism that QE3 remains on the table helped the market trade even for now.

For the rest of the week, expect more Europe news and the U.S. unemployment report on Friday.

Of course, individual companies still posted sharp breaks on more specific stories. Not surprisingly, the manufacturing sector stumbled.

Industrial-goods manufacturer Joy Global led the downward spike with more than a 4% loss, while auto manufacturer Ford (NYSE: F  ) and tire partner Goodyear Tire (NYSE: GT  ) both dropped more than 2%. The two companies provide a classic case of the domino effect. Ford fell only 2.1%, while Goodyear dropped 3.3%. Goodyear got hit twice: It manufacturers its own materials (tires) and then sells those materials to other manufacturers (auto dealers), making it extremely exposed to industry swings.

On a day in which the dollar climbed relative to the euro, shares of Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR  ) fell 3.1%. Of course, shares of the discount variety store have no correlation with the value of the dollar, but shares dropped after a Nomura analyst downgraded the company to neutral. "While the shares are likely to continue to perform well, it is harder to justify a higher target at present," Nomura's Aram Rubinson explained.

Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) won huge on the quiet day. Its shares soared as much as 10% amid speculation that former Chairman Richard Schulze would place an offer to buy the company and take it private. Since incoming ownership generally offers a roughly 10% premium on outstanding shares, investors swarmed to take advantage. Although it closed up 5.9%, its momentum did falter after news that the deal, while still a possibility, remains in the early stages of discussion.

It will be important to track companies like Best Buy in the near future, though, as developments on the going-private offer could drive shares in either direction. To stay up to date on Best Buy and more, start using My Watchlist to receive updates and analysis whenever news breaks. Make sure to add all these names to your free My Watchlist tool:

Will Chavey owns no shares of the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy, Joy Global, and Ford. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Ford and creating a synthetic long position in Ford. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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