In a volatile day of trading Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) , which was down 150 points in morning trading, rallied to end the day with gains. An earnings beat from Starbucks helped instill a sense of optimism on Wall Street. U.S. consumer sentiment also rose to six-year highs in July, which investors hoped was indicative of a continuing recovery. The Dow ended with a three-point, or less than 0.1%, gain, closing at 15,558, its fifth-straight week of advances.
Travelers (NYSE: TRV ) ended with the biggest gains in the Dow today, adding 0.9% after results from two peers in the insurance industry beat earnings expectations. Property and casualty insurers Montpelier, and Cincinnati Financial both posted gains of their own after upbeat quarters. Although the two insurers may be on the up and up, they pale in comparison to the size of Travelers, which is about three times as large as Montpelier and Cincinnati Financial combined.
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) also tacked on 0.9% today. There wasn't much in the way of major news that drove shares higher, but a "futurist" -- a person who studies and makes predictions about the future based on current trends -- for the company thinks that holograms will play a major role in shopping and consumerism in the future. It's a fascinating concept, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out, but it certainly doesn't provide any immediate insight into how the potential of holograms benefits Intel shareholders today.
The technology sector as a whole, however, ended marginally lower on the day, and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) came along for the ride, losing 1%. There wasn't a compelling reason for the move today, but some on Wall Street may just be cashing in on gains. The stock is up more than 80% in 2013 alone, and rose for four-straight days before Friday's fall. It's understandable that investors might want to divest a portion of their money from companies like HP that are heavily reliant on the declining PC industry.
Lastly, Boeing (NYSE: BA ) shares stumbled 1% after the Federal Aviation Administration handed down a $2.75 million safety-related fine. The punishment isn't related to the recent Dreamliner woes, but rather a problem discovered in 2008 with 777 fasteners; the FAA claims Boeing was slow to correct the issue. The amount of the fine itself isn't much of a financial blow to the company, which has an $80 billion market cap. Still, the last thing shareholders want to hear about right now is more safety issues in a year that has seen several fires break out on grounded Boeing planes.
What macro trend was Warren Buffett referring to when he said, "This is the tapeworm that's eating at American competitiveness?" Find out in our free report: "What's Really Eating at America's Competitiveness." You'll also discover an idea to profit as companies work to eradicate this efficiency-sucking tapeworm. Just click here for free, immediate access.