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.

Some clarity on the Syria situation is pushing oil and gold down today, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is surging. There was another data problem at Nasdaq today, though this one was short-lived, lasting for only 10 minutes and only affecting stocks with symbols between PC and SPZ, according to CNBC. As of 1:25 p.m. EDT the Dow is up 120 points to 13,954. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is up 0.95% to 1,655.

A vote on U.S. intervention in Syria is expected today by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The resolution would authorize the U.S. to use military force against Syria for 60 days with a possible 30-day extension, but it would prohibit the use of ground forces. There are separate drafts of the resolution, some more restrictive than others, and while it looks likely to pass, it is unclear which version will pass.

In any event, oil prices and gold are down as the uncertainty over U.S. military action passes. Falling oil prices are positive for the U.S. economy. There was one U.S. economic release today.





Trade deficit


$39.1 billion

34.5 billion

The Department of Commerce reported that the trade deficit rose in July by $4.6 billion to a seasonally adjusted $39.1 billion, in line with analyst expectations and the 12-month average.

US Trade Deficit Chart

US Trade Deficit data by YCharts.

Exports fell by $1.1 billion to $189.4 billion, while imports rose by $3.5 billion to $228.6 billion, driven by higher oil prices.

Today's Dow leader and lagger
Today's Dow leader is Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), up 2.7% after it unveiled its new Atom processors, which are based on its Silvermont architecture and aimed at the low-power microserver and data-center markets. Intel has been struggling to compete with ARM's and Qualcomm's low-power chips, which have gained footholds in the smartphone and tablet markets.

For the second day in a row, the worst stock on the Dow is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), down 2.1%. Over the weekend Microsoft announced that it will buy Nokia's mobile division for $7.2 billion. The stock has lost 6.5% since the announcement for a total market-cap loss of $18 billion, showing that investors aren't thrilled with the deal. Today the stock is down after Morgan Stanley downgraded Microsoft from "overweight" to "equal weight." The analyst said Microsoft's shift in strategy to vertically integrated mobile-phone producer is risky.

Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Microsoft. 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.