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.

With 51% of stocks finishing higher today, the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) squeaked out modest gains on Wednesday. Although 51% isn't an overwhelming majority by any means, it's bullish nonetheless and a welcome change from the back-to-back losses in the previous two sessions. With Wall Street seeing no need for a more severe correction on what may be the eve of war, the S&P added 4 points, or 0.3%, to end at 1,634. 

Mining machinery maker Joy Global (NYSE:JOY) plunged 4.7% as it reported steep declines in equipment orders in the most recent quarter. Not only that, but the company heavily trimmed back its projections for the coming fiscal year, as CEO Mike Sutherlin relayed the dismal news to investors. Sutherlin said the annual sales probably weren't going to exceed $4 billion, while the Street was looking for something closer to $4.6 billion. That's quite a shortfall. 

J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) has been one of the more notable stocks of the year; not for its outsized returns but for the noise made by an activist investor and a shake-up at the helm of the company. Shares in the department store continued their slippery slide Wednesday, falling 3.1% after news broke that Bill Ackman's Pershing Capital liquidated its entire $492 million position in the company Monday. The hedge fund lost more than $400 million on its ownership stake as J.C. Penney's business struggled.

Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) dropped 2.4%, just a day after shares in the gold miner stumbled 3.5% despite rising gold prices. At the end of the day, people confused about why Newmont would have fallen at a time when gold prices are rising should remember that an investment in Newmont isn't a pure play on gold. After all, it's a company, not an ETF that tracks gold prices. And as a company, it can be negatively affected by rising costs -- like the price of oil, for instance. 

Fool contributor John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned, and neither does The Motley Fool. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.