Investors Wait Patiently for Tonight

On another quite day on Wall Street, investors seem content with patiently waiting for the State of the Union address this evening before putting fresh capital to work. During President Obama's speech, investors will likely receive a few tips on which industries may perform well or poorly in the future due to government interventions of some sort. It may be more regulation for the banking sector, spending cutbacks for the defense contracting industry, or more favorable policies for the energy sector.

Regardless of what the president may reveal this evening, all of the major indexes are slightly higher as of 12:55 p.m. EST. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up the most, having gained 50 points, or 0.36%. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is up 0.24%, while the NASDAQ has added 0.04%. The Dow now sits at 14,021, and only five of its 30 components are down so far in today's session.

So who's down and why?
Yesterday I noted that shares of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) were trading lower because some investors were bailing on the company ahead of this morning's earnings report. Well, they were right to do so, at least in the short term. Shares of the soft-drink company are down 2.5% so far today, making it the worst-performing Dow component of the day. Excluding all one-time charges, the company posted earnings per share of $0.45, while analysts were expecting $0.44. But revenue of $11.46 billion was below the $11.53 billion many had estimated. The company also saw a volume decline in a number of major markets around the world.

Shares of Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) , which is scheduled to report earnings tomorrow, are trading lower again today, down 1%. Analysts are expecting revenue of $12.2 billion and earnings per share to come in at $0.49. The stock is up 6.62% year to date and is currently at the higher end of its 52-week range. If the company misses tomorrow, shares will likely tumble. Short-term traders may be selling today just to avoid the possible risk of tomorrow's announcement, but long-term investors should sit tight unless their investing thesis radically changes tomorrow.  

Lastly, shares of McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) are down slightly even though the company's price target was increased at Susquehanna. He firm feels that McDonald's will experience some choppy waters in the short term as it deals with strong same-store sales but that those numbers will increase, especially abroad, in the coming quarters. Additionally, Europe's weakness gives the company the opportunity to gain market share in major growth markets.

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!


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