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The Commerce Department announced this morning that the U.S. economy grew by 2.5% in the first quarter of 2013. This was much better than the 0.4% growth we experienced during the fourth quarter of 2012, but not as high as the 3.1% that many economists had predicted. And after today's release, many began painting a less optimistic picture of 2013 than most had before, when they said this was as good as it would get this year.
The GDP report and a number of earnings releases had investors confused on what to do, and the markets ended the day mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) closed higher by 11 points, or 0.08%, and now sits at 14,712, while both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were lower when the closing bell rang. The S&P lost 0.18% as the technology-heavy index fell 0.33%.
With the Dow hardly moving, it was easy to find a few winners and one big loser today.
Few Dow winners
Shares of Boeing (NYSE: BA ) moved higher by 1.29% today. The move came on the heels of an announcement out of Japan, where regulators have now officially approved the proposed 787 Dreamliner's battery fix. This is an important development, since half of the already 50 Dreamliners that have been delivered to clients are owned by Japanese airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines. Boeing has announced that it will take a few weeks for all the previously delivered planes to receive the approved changes to the aircrafts battery system, but this is a big step forward and soon the issue will be behind Boeing.
Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) announced earnings this morning, and despite missing on revenue, the company beat earnings-per-share estimates. Analysts wanted to see $67.73 billion in sales, but Chevron reported only $56.82 billion. Earnings per share came in at $3.18, while estimates were only at $3.08. And even though operating margins fell from 19.9% to 18.1%, and production earnings slid 4.1%, shares rose 1.29% today, probably because oil and natural gas production increased by 0.8% during the quarter, which will truly help the company in the long run.
One Dow loser
Shares of Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) fell 1.43% today as Standard & Poor's reduced the outlook for the stock from "stable" to "negative." S&P reaffirmed Alcoa's corporate credit score at BBB-, which is the lowest investment-grade level, but if aluminum prices and weak demand persist for longer than expected, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Alcoa could be reduced to junk status in the future.
Materials industries are traditionally known for their high barriers to entry, and the aluminum industry is no exception. Controlling about 15% of global production in this highly consolidated industry, Alcoa is in prime position to take advantage of growth that some expect will lead to total industry revenue approaching $160 billion by 2017. Based on this prospect and several other company-specific factors, Alcoa is certainly worth a closer look. For a Foolish investment perspective on this global giant simply click here now to get started.
Standard & Poor's reaffirmed the outlook for Alcoa but didn't reduce the company's credit rating.