September 20, 2012
U.S. stock markets didn’t give investors much to talk about today. In another day of relative calm, all three major American indexes hovered around flat for most of the day. After sitting in negative territory, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) ended slightly higher today, notching a 19-point rally, or a roughly 0.1% gain. On the other hand, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each declined 0.1% and 0.2% respectively. In further confirmation that barely anything happened to the broad markets today, the market’s "fear gauge," more commonly referred to as the VIX (INDEX: ^VXX ) , also shed a mere 1.1%. Not a lot to write home about. However, there were a few major storylines with specific companies worth noting.
Around the markets
Among major storylines today:
- Railroad Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC ) shed 9%, after the company lowered its Q3 outlook. This comes on the heels of another company underperforming on its expectation. Earlier this week, shipping barometer FedEx (NYSE: FDX ) also lowered its full-year guidance, sparking a sell-off in its shares. Each of these companies deals closely with global trade, and investors watch them closely to, hopefully, glean insight into the health of the global economy. If such leading indicators are correct, the rest of the year could be challenging for investors.
- On the flipside, ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG ) rallied 6.2%, after it reported better-than-expected first quarter earnings. Keeping its shareholders happy, ConAgra also raised its full-year guidance. In addition, it raised its quarterly payout by 4.2%, to an absolute figure of $0.25.
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