A Surprise Loser Leads the Dow Today

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.

Consumers still seem to be wary regarding employment, as consumer confidence for September weakened to 79.7, following August's revised figure of 81.5. Consumers, though, had at least one cause to cheer, as the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller indexes for July showed that home prices rose by double digits year over year. The 20-city index improved 12.4% during that time period, although monthly price gains are slowing. The mixed news hasn't budged the Dow Jones Industrial Average, (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) trading down only 0.03% as of 2:45 p.m. EDT.

Here are some of the movers in the market today.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) is leading the Dow, trading up 1.6% following news that Boeing was turned down for a $7.7 billion fighter jet contract with South Korea that it was widely expected to win. Boeing was the only remaining offer to come in under South Korea's initial budget, but the government held true to its statement that budget wasn't the primary concern. South Korea was concerned that Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle no longer offered top-of-the-line stealth technology capabilities. Investors didn't seem too concerned regarding the loss. Perhaps for once the market is taking a long-term view, because Boeing already has a backlog of orders worth $410 billion.

Nike's Iconic brand image helps with pricing power. Image credit: Nike

Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) is another winner in the Dow today, up 0.8%. The footwear and apparel juggernaut was recently upgraded by Deutsche Bank analysts, who increased its target price from $68 to $75. Nike has significant pricing power due to its leverage with retail customers; consider that it represents half of the purchases by Foot Locker and Finish Line, according to Morningstar. Nike can command higher gross margins than competitors because it's one of the world's most recognized brands. Its brand lines and product assortments span the globe and reduce dependence on any single product or market. Thursday will show whether Nike continues to leverage those competitive advantages when it reports its quarterly earnings.

Outside the Dow, General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) is surging 1.7% a day after America's largest automaker received an "investment grade" rating on its debt. Moody's was the first of four major credit-rating agencies to upgrade GM; it marks the first time in eight years GM's debt wasn't given junk bond status, according to CNNMoney.

"The North American performance has been much better than we would have anticipated," said Dan Picciotto, S&P's primary credit analyst on GM and Ford, according to Bloomberg. "It's hard to understate how much cost has been taken out of the North American operations before, during, and after 2008 and 2009. They're certainly in a much better cost position." 

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