Stock markets are lower in late trading after starting Friday slightly in the black. A consumer sentiment reading from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan fell to 82.7 from 84.5 a month ago but still shows a fairly strong consumer. Still, it wasn't enough to excite investors, and as of 3:15 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was down 0.61% while the S&P 500 has fallen 0.47%.
Just five of 30 Dow stocks are higher today and the one that's leading the march is Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) stock, which is up 0.9%. President Obama released a memo today that ordered government agencies to examine how they use wireless spectrum, hoping to free some up for private companies. One of the limiting factors in expanding wireless data is the limited spectrum available to private companies like Verizon Wireless. It's easy to draw the conclusion that Verizon Wireless would be a winner if more spectrum is opened up to companies because it has the biggest wireless network, and additional spectrum could expand LTE or next-generation wireless capabilities.
Long term, I think Verizon stock is one of the best on the Dow because it has a wide moat in wireless, which is a very lucrative and growing business. Verizon also pays a healthy 4.1% dividend, which is a great way to generate return for shareholders.
DuPont (NYSE: DD ) is leading the Dow's laggards, falling 2.3% today. CFO Nicholas Fanandakis said yesterday that operating earnings would be down about 10% in the first half of the year, lower than a previous expectation of a 7% to 9% drop. Full-year earnings are also expected to be at the lower end of the previously stated $3.85 to $4.05 per share range. A wet spring is having a negative impact the agriculture business, which accounts for 45% of the company's revenue.