Why the Dow Is Treading Water

Yesterday, poor manufacturing data started September off on the wrong note, although a late-day rally pushed the Nasdaq slightly into positive territory. Today, all three major indexes are down, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) off about 0.04% and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both declining 0.2%. Stocks have tread water all day as little headlines have left traders in a holding pattern in advance of unemployment data later this week.

The Dow was not without winners, as both Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) and Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) are putting in strong performances. Boeing is up 1.5% after revising upward its forecast for airline demand from China, and executives see a coming wave of consolidation.

The most exciting news is that the fiscal cliff, a poison pill Congress inserted into negotiations to balance the budget, could get pushed back by at least six months. No one fully expects Congress to allow the across-the-board cuts to crush the defense industry, including fellow Dow component United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) , but recent Congressional stalemates have left what should be a slam-dunk decision in doubt.

Disney has seen shares pop 2.5% -- best in the index -- as the streaming-video deal between Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) and Epix has investors seeing dollar signs surrounding Disney's rich catalog of movies. The coming war over online-content domination should see multiple bidders coming to Disney -- and the company doesn't have to strike exclusive deals, so it should be able to negotiate increasingly lucrative deals across multiple platforms.

Disney investors may be sitting pretty, but the biggest story continues to be Amazon's aggressiveness. With the new Epix deal in hand and a new Kindle tablet set to debut before the holidays, now is the time to download our new premium Amazon report. It will keep you up to date on the online retail titan's headlines, whether it is still a buy at these lofty levels, and what it has in store for investors and consumers. Get your copy by clicking here.

David Williamson holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Walt Disney and Amazon.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not 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.


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