Few Winners in a Dow Shaken by Escalating Tension in Syria

Yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) pump-faked the market, trading higher through most of the session before dropping significantly in the last hour and closing down 64 points. The Dow certainly isn't rebounding today, dropping 0.87% as of 2:45 p.m. EDT. The market is continuing its downward trend today as the world considers potential military action against Syria, prompting some investors to seek the safety of bonds. That volatility has left few winners in the Dow today; here are some of the movers and shakers in the Dow today.

Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) is one of few Dow component trading in the black today, up 0.2%, as escalating tensions in Syria and the Middle East tend to send gas prices higher. In other news, Total SA and a Cairo-based Beltone Private Equity said they have bought some of Chevron's Egyptian business, according to The Wall Street Journal. The price tag hasn't been confirmed but the purchase includes 66 service stations, 2 oil depots and aviation fuel operations at two airports.

Chevron's small sale doesn't change the company's long-term outlook much. The company is expected to post additional growth after 2014 thanks to several new projects, such as its two liquid-natural-gas projects in Australia.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) is trading 1% lower today following last week's worse-than-expected third-quarter earnings report. The market isn't showing the company any mercy as Hewlett-Packard has now become the 12th-most shorted stock in the Dow, according to Forbes. Even after its recent stock-price decline HP is up 55% for the year and is finding it difficult to convince investors it can complete a turnaround with ever-increasing competition -- fueling the bears and short-sellers.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) is one of the Dow's biggest losers today, down 2.2%. The aviation juggernaut signed only 90 new contracts in July versus 287 in the prior month, which is bad news in an industry that has struggled since the recession. Investors don't have to worry much regarding short-term decline in contracts, because Boeing has a ridiculous $410 billion backlog of orders -- roughly 4.5 times its entire 2013 sales estimate. On top of that, Boeing recently improved its 20-year outlook, raising its estimated aircraft demand to 35,000 units totaling nearly $4.8 trillion. If you're looking for revenue security in the face of adversity, Boeing is a compelling investment option.

Outside the Dow, Ford (NYSE: F  ) and General Motors continue to have a rough August, losing more than 3% today. Both stocks have enjoyed a solid stock-price increase since March and surged following great second-quarter earnings reports in July. While retailers have seen weaker spending, pent-up vehicle demand and low interest rates have kept seasonally adjusted annual rates strong -- see below. Next week's automotive sales release for August could give investors a reason to jump back on board.


Source: Automotive News DataCenter. Graph by author.

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