Dow Up in Mixed Market

After three straight days of triple-digit losses, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) gained a bit this morning, up 0.37% as investors saw buying opportunities.

Speculation of Federal Reserve assistance intensified, since the Fed promised to act if the economic situation became dire, but it did not indicate any actions officially. On the flip side, new home sales slipped 8.4% in June, coming down hard from a two-year high in May.

Earnings were mixed in the overall markets, as Apple's earnings disappointment dragged down the S&P 500, but the Dow inched upward.

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) shares lost ground this morning despite a good earnings report. Investors cheered its 67% Q2 profit growth alongside an EPS of $2.54 that crushed expectations, but the negative housing data sent shares down 0.49%. The company is the sixth-most-heavily weighted stock in the index, so it moves the average substantially, but the conglomerate also provides a microcosm for the overall economy.

Fellow Dow component Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) soared thanks to great news across the board. The company dominated earnings, hitting an EPS of $1.27 against expectations of $1.12, and grew revenue to $20 billion. With the recent spike in sales going back to the Farnborough Airshow, Boeing also raised its full-year outlook. As if to affirm this decision, Aeromexico committed to buying 100 planes earlier this morning. Boeing shares jumped 2.3%.

AT&T's (NYSE: T  ) big day came a day late. After taking a huge fall yesterday despite beating expectations on earnings, the company gained about 2% on the morning. Revenue stayed steady, so the earnings jump came mostly from decreased iPhone sales ahead of the iPhone release. Telecom companies subsidize the popular phones in order to guarantee contracts, but the policy hurts margins. However, its ability to keep revenue steady, coupled with competitor Verizon's positive report, point toward optimism in the telecom sector.

Finally, not every stock joined the bounce-back party. Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) dropped almost 1%, and crude oil slipped 1.45%. The company announced earnings on Friday, and analysts' expectations have fallen over the past few months. The overall energy sector remains mixed, but a drop in sales from competitor ConocoPhillips led many investors to fear the worst.

All the mixed news leaves many investors looking for clues about what to do next. If you're in that boat, consider trying a long-term, steady-income approach: dividend stocks. The Motley Fool's free report, "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need," identifies three stocks with dividends to give investors steady earnings -- and the outlook to see share prices rise, too. It's completely free, so get your copy before it's gone.

Fool contributor Will Chavey owns no shares of the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Chevron. Motley Fool newsletter services have also recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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