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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.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book, released eight times each year, provided further evidence for a gradually improving economy today, and Wall Street embraced the slow but steady growth as markets advanced. Nearly two out of every three stocks edged higher despite a vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that brings the U.S. a step closer to a military strike on Syria. The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) added 13 points, or 0.8%, to end at 1,653 on Wednesday.
Unfortunately, Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI ) shareholders didn't get to participate in the widespread gains as the pipeline operator slumped 6% to lead all S&P laggards. Analysts at research outlet Jefferies Group reportedly initiated shares with a hold rating, a move that sent shares plummeting on six times the average trading volume. That said, the Houston-based company owns tens of thousands of miles of pipelines that are poised to become more valuable as natural gas increases in popularity, so don't give up on Kinder Morgan just yet.
The surveillance and security technology mainstay SAIC (UNKNOWN: SAI.DL ) took a 4.9% hit after reporting a dramatic, 61% drop in quarterly profits and reducing its outlook for the 2014 fiscal year. Double whammys like the one SAIC reported today never bode well for shareholders, regardless of whether the reasons for the shortfalls are sound or not. SAIC is in the unfortunate position of relying on the government for a substantial portion of its revenues, which happens to be a poor business model when the government itself is in debt up to its eyeballs.
Lastly, Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC ) , which makes security software and provides other digital solutions, lost 2.9%. While Symantec hasn't been myopic enough to focus its operations strictly on the PC market, PC solutions remain a material part of its business. It seems like each new report estimating global PC shipments calls for a progressively steeper decline, a weakness that will likely continue to hurt Symantec until it divests itself more fully from the area.
The U.S. government has piled on more than $10 trillion of new debt since 2000. Annual deficits topped $1 trillion after the financial crisis. Millions of Americans have asked: What the heck is going on? The Motley Fool's new free report, "Everything You Need to Know About the National Debt," walks you through with step-by-step explanations about how the government spends your money, where it gets tax revenue from, the future of spending, and what a $16 trillion debt means for our future. Click here to read the full report!