The release of some important economic data this morning is boosting the markets. In December the trade deficit here at home fell by more than 20% as imports declined and exports rose. The weakening dollar was likely the culprit, but regardless what caused it, this was the biggest trade-deficit drop in four years. Elsewhere, investors have briefly dismissed worries that China's economy is slowing after the country reported that Chinese exports grew 25% in January, while imports climbed 28.8% from last January.
This good news has the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) up 45 points, or 0.32%, as of 12:55 p.m. EST. The other major indexes are climbing, with the S&P 500 up 0.47% and the NASDAQ up 0.91%. The Dow now sits at 13,990, just slightly below where it started the week, and only eight of its 30 components are in the red today.
So who's down and why?
Shares of Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) have lost 0.47% so far today. Verizon has a joint venture with Coinstar's (NASDAQ: OUTR ) Redbox Instant service, which will allow users to streams videos to most Internet-connected devices, much like the services provided by Netflix or Hulu. The problem is that Coinstar is expecting lower fourth-quarter sales due to declining DVD rentals at its Redbox kiosks. While this points to the need for a streaming service, if Coinstar and Verizon can't quickly get their streaming service up and running, it may come to an end before it ever really gets started.
Shares of American Express (NYSE: AXP ) are down 0.77% today after hitting a new 52-week high just yesterday. The stock is up 7.4% year to date, although the company's most recent quarterly results were not anything special -- in fact, they were dismal. But a number of investors still believe the stock is a buy, including my Fool colleague Jessica Alling. She recently gave five reasons why investors shouldn't worry about American Express's future.
The Dow's biggest today is once again Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , whose shares are down 0.86%. Boeing recently hit a new 52-week high, and while investors may be selling high to buy low later, I believe Boeing is dropping because it told two European airlines today that delivery of the 787 Dreamliner will be delayed. The company is still sorting out issues with the plane's battery systems, and although investigators are getting closer to a solution every day, they have yet to find the answer.
More Foolish insight
Are you at ease...or nervous? It's been a great five-year run for investors, with the Dow and S&P at or near all-time highs. Yet fears abound. When will the next downturn hit? Will political gridlock lead to portfolio-killing inflation? To learn how to protect your portfolio, click here for free guidance from the Motley Fool Pro Academy!