Why the Dow Hugged the Flatline This Morning

For a long time, it seemed like the stock market was waiting for something exciting to happen. With successive rounds of government and central-bank action, the market definitely got its wish. Now, though, stocks again seem to be treading water, with investors perhaps waiting to see whether all those new policies actually manage to push the economy back into a solid growth trajectory. Just before 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) were up just eight points, although the broader market was down a bit.

Among Dow stocks, Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) was down just a dime despite news that the union of Boeing engineers recommended that its members reject the aircraft maker's contract proposal. Moving workers away from traditional pension plans is a common theme these days, but Boeing doesn't have much leverage to impose its will, given the tremendous pressure it's under to get aircraft delivered on time.

Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) was up more than 1.3% as investors apparently gravitated toward more dependable, defensive stocks. As Fool contributor Eric Volkman observed yesterday, Coke's logo is just another example of its stability, having remained essentially unchanged since the 19th century. The same formula that led to stellar growth in the U.S. during the 20th century is priming global dominance in the 21st.

Finally, Dow oil components ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) were both up modestly this morning. Yesterday's volatile trading in the oil futures markets sent prices plunging more than $5 per barrel in the span of just a few minutes, yet oil appears to have stabilized for the moment. With gasoline prices already near record highs for the month of September, the downside of a successful stimulus for the global economy could come from even higher energy demand driving oil upward.

Enjoy the market's pause
Consolidation after a big upward move for stocks is often a good sign. To make the most from the market's gains, be sure to drill down on the stocks that will give you the best long-term prospects. The Motley Fool's special report on the Dow will point you in the right direction, showing you three promising Dow stocks with great prospects for the future. The report is absolutely free, so click here and get your copy today.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Exxon Mobil and Coca-Cola. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Coca-Cola and Chevron. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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