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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.
After two consecutive losing sessions, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) recovered a portion of those losses on Wednesday. While the Syrian conflict remains the central point of discussion throughout the international community, energy stocks fueled the Dow's gains as the price of oil continued to creep higher. The Dow, by day's end, added 48 points, or 0.3%, ending at 14,824.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) surged 2.8%, less than a week after management's quarterly earnings call sent the stock plunging 12.5% in a single day. Last Thursday's sudden drop was brought on by a bleak outlook that emphasized HP's lack of success in the enterprise division. But today's news that Cerner (NASDAQ: CERN ) will be using HP's analytical platform showed investors that the company is having at least some success shifting its focus away from the struggling PC market.
With the oil and gas sector advancing nearly four times as much as any other area in the markets today, it's no surprise Chevron's (NYSE: CVX ) stock jumped 2.5% on Wednesday. It's lucky for the Dow, too: Chevron is the second most influential component of the price-weighted Dow's average, holding about 15 times the sway that Alcoa's (NYSE: AA ) stock does.
On the losing side of things, Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ ) lost 0.8%. Shares were unable to repeat yesterday's gravity-defying performance, when Verizon was one of only two Dow stocks to gain ground. Not only was the telecom sector -- unlike energy stocks -- out of favor Wednesday, but bond yields ticked higher, luring some income investors away from dividend stocks like Verizon. From a long-term perspective, today's decline isn't much to worry about. Potential investors should instead pay close attention to any moves by Verizon to enter the Canadian market, which could mean good things for the company's growth prospects.
Finally, Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) shed 1.4%, falling victim to some of the same woes that Verizon's stock did today: a healthy dividend yield and a sector Wall Street wasn't a fan of. At the end of the day, P&G will likely be the same sort of low-risk, low-growth investment it has been for years on end. Sales volume rose 2% in the last year, while prices ticked up a modest 1%. Revenue isn't exactly shooting to the moon, but it's growth nonetheless.
While prices may have risen today, record oil and natural gas production is revolutionizing the United States' energy position. Finding the right plays while historic amounts of capital expenditures are flooding the industry will pad your investment nest egg. For this reason, The Motley Fool is offering a comprehensive look at three energy companies set to soar during this transformation in the energy industry. To find out which three companies are spreading their wings, check out the special free report "3 Stocks for the American Energy Bonanza." Don't miss out on this timely opportunity. Click here to access your report -- it's absolutely free.