Tough Day on Wall Street Amidst Fears of U.S./Syria Conflict

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The issues in Syria and how the U.S. and other world powers will respond to the possible use of chemical weapons in the country caused investors some heartache and pain today. Of the three major U.S. indexes, the best performer was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) , which lost 170 points, or 1.14%, and now sits at 14,776, a level not seen since the end of June. The S&P 500 came in as the second-worst index, losing 1.59%, while the Nasdaq took the cake, losing 2.16% this afternoon.

Despite the terrible day, a few winners could still be found. On the Dow, only Verizon and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) rose. Earlier, my colleague John Divine explained why both companies jumped. For Coke, it was the result of a partially owned Mexican bottler FEMSA S.A.B. de C.V. purchasing a Brazilian bottler called Companhia Fluminense de Refrigerantes for roughly $450 million. This purchase now gives Coke a solid presence in South America. Shares increased by 0.08% today, making it the top Dow performer.  

Outside the Dow, shares of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NASDAQ: GT  ) rose by 1.98%, making it one of the top movers within the S&P 500. The boost higher came because the company signed a new four-year agreement with the United Steelworkers Union today. While the agreement does provide for higher wages as well as increased employment and retirement security for the workers, it also gives Goodyear the ability to freeze its defined benefit pension plans and change them to a defined benefit contribution plan, which would enable it to save money in the long run. As we have seen a number of times over the past few years in many different industries, retirement obligations are some of the costliest things for companies, and this new contract should help Goodyear stay out of financial distress from those obligations.  

Two other movers within the S&P 500 were DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV  ) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) , which rose 0.85% and 0.87%, respectively, after the stocks were both given positive ratings. Raymond James started coverage on DirecTV today and opened up with an outperform rating on the stock. It also started its price target at $69, which is just slightly higher than the stock's current 52-week high. At the same time, Raymond James opened coverage on DirecTV's closest competitor, Dish Network, and slapped an underperform rating on it.   

As for Comcast, the cable operator was added to Bank of America's US 1 list. The bank made the change because it has seen Comcast execute well and is the top name in its sector. B of A also set a price target at $60. It doesn't seem as though the widespread "cord cutting" many investors feared not too long ago is really having an impact on the cable TV providers. With that said, investors do need to watch how this industry could be disrupted if a more a la carte channel option were provided or as the streaming services build larger content libraries.

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