Often, on the first day of the month, you'll see a lot of buying activity as money tied to monthly paychecks and automatic investing programs comes into the market. When you combine that natural support with excellent economic news on the manufacturing and employment front, you set the stage for a massive rally like today's. The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) climbed 128 points to a new record, but the S&P 500 had an even more momentous day, rising above the 1,700 mark for the first time.
But several stocks weren't able to share in the gains. The biggest decliner in the Dow was ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) , which fell more than 1% after reporting worse-than-expected results for its second quarter. Net profit fell 57% from the year-ago quarter, falling almost 20% below expectations. Arguably more troubling was a 1.9% drop in oil and gas production, despite extensive efforts from the company to bolster production levels through new acquisitions. With the company's refinery operations failing to add to earnings the way they did in past quarters, Exxon could face new difficulties in producing earnings growth in the future.
Tech giants Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) both fell about half a percent. Investors appeared to react simply to positive results from newer-generation technology companies, with Facebook, in particular, returning to its IPO share price for the first time since its first day of trading. Moreover, with Google's release of its new Motorola smartphone offering, investors might be concerned about the extent to which Microsoft and Intel have failed to capitalize on the mobile revolution, instead re-allocating their money to more growth-oriented investments in light of the big surge in stocks today.
Finally, outside the Dow, the lights went out for SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR ) today, as the solar giant fell more than 13%. It's not entirely clear what investors were focusing on in pushing shares down, as the company beat earnings estimates last night and raised its earnings guidance, showing every sign of strength ahead. Long-term investors should likely see this as an unusual buying opportunity.
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