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Well, today certainly proved boring. Coming off one of the quieter days in recent memory, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) stayed put for a second straight day, shedding only 7 points to end 0.1% lower. In similarly dull fashion, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq posted moderate gains of 0.1% and 0.5%, respectively. The market's "fear gauge," or the VIX (INDEX: ^VIX ) , retreated moderately as well, falling 1.5%. Several negative, but relatively minor, economic indicators kept investors at bay, including a reading from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showing that manufacturing activity in the Empire State slipped into negative levels.
Around the markets
Also casting doubt onto the strength of the manufacturing sector was Deere (NYSE: DE ) , which plunged 6.3% after missing its earnings estimates. The company cited international weakness as the primary culprit, which, given yesterday's negative GDP figures from the EU and concerns over softening in China, seems more than plausible.
One of the lone bright spots was optical-networking powerhouse JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU ) . Its shares spiked an impressive 8.2% after the company smoked analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines. This came before networking giant Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO ) reported substantially higher profits in its most recent quarter. In its fiscal Q4, Cisco saw profits surge 56%, tallying its third consecutive quarter of higher profits. The company also boosted its dividend by 75%. The market, of course, reacted quite favorably, sending Cisco shares 4% higher in the after-hours market.
Putting it all together
With all being quiet right now across the markets, investors should turn their attention to one of their most central points: finding the next big thing. Fortunately, the Fool's uncovered three specific Dow stocks, dividend dynamos each of them, that have plenty of upside and minimal downside. We detail them in our most recent research report. In these perilous times, investors need to be laser-focused in risk as well as reward, so grab your copy today.