Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Are You Reading the Right News Today?

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

Thank goodness it's Friday. I'm not sure I could take another market day as weird as this one without a few days of R&R in between.

Just look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) . The blue-chip index started off like most days in recent memory, which means sliding downward in a 0.4% death spiral. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

But then President Obama took a meeting with congressional leaders to discuss solutions to the upcoming fiscal cliff crisis -- and to everyone's surprise, both sides seem willing to compromise and make a deal that actually works.

"This isn't something we're going to wait until the last day of December to get it done," said Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Republican House speaker John Boehner also extended an olive branch across the aisle, searching for "a fair and balanced approach."

Bipartisan agreement on issues that matter. Imagine that. Infrastructure players Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) , Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) perked up in a hurry, smelling smaller cuts to government contracts than previously feared. The Dow jumped into positive territory right away, peaking at a 0.5% gain before falling back toward the breakeven line.

Oh, but things get weirder from there. Fiscal cliff discussions may shape our nation's future in many ways, and the topic deserves to be the most talked-about news of the day. Instead, we're all watching a beloved privately owned company go bankrupt.

The most-read article at the Wall Street Journal today? "Twinkie Maker Hostess to Close." That nugget also rules the roost at the Washington Post and at CNN Money ... well, a picture speaks volumes:

Sure, people are talking about the good old cliff, and you might even notice that Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) workers are planning a strike on Black Friday just to maximize the impact of their actions. But does anybody care?

Not when our Twinkies are in danger.

As an antidote to these severely skewed priorities, I'd like to point out that the Twinkies disaster hasn't cracked the top five list here at the Fool yet. Here, readers want to learn more about successful investing and the state of our economy. Hostess isn't even mentioned on The Economist's home page. Listen hard enough and you'll still find a few voices of reason. If you're serious about investing and planning for your retirement, you should ignore the snack-cake chatter and focus on the real news.

Caterpillar is the market share leader in an industry in which size matters, and its quality products, extensive service network, and unparalleled brand strength combine to give it solid competitive advantages. Read all about Caterpillar's strengths and weaknesses in our brand-new report. Just click here to access it now.

And on that note, I'm taking a 48-hour break from the market's silliness. Might even have a Twinkie or two along the way.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2117364, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/22/2016 9:32:46 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 12 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:01 PM
CAT $86.33 Down -0.30 -0.35%
Caterpillar CAPS Rating: ***
WMT $68.34 Down -0.39 -0.57%
Wal-Mart Stores CAPS Rating: ***
AA $26.88 Up +0.19 +0.71%
Alcoa CAPS Rating: ***
UTX $98.67 Down -0.62 -0.62%
United Technologie… CAPS Rating: ****