Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Today's 3 Best Stocks in the S&P 500

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The big bad S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) huffed and puffed with all its might and a good amount of positive economic data, but it still couldn't blow skeptics out of the way on Wednesday, sending the index to its fifth-straight loss.

It was a pretty positive day for economic data for a change, with new homes sales rising nearly 8% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000. However, that still didn't make up for the steep drop-off in July when surging interest rates put a major damper on home purchases and mortgage originations.

In addition to the home sale data, U.S. durable goods orders topped most forecasts by rising 0.1% in August. That may not sound like much, but given last month's huge decline in durable goods orders I believe investors will gladly take it. The big winner again was automakers, which continue to see strong sales despite generally weak consumer spending habits.

Despite this good news, the looming government shutdown on Tuesday because of Congress' inability to balance the federal budget, the potential for a debt-ceiling default shortly thereafter, and Federal Reserve commentary overhang from last week added too much weight to the S&P 500's shoulders and pushed it lower by 4.65 points (-0.27%) to close at 1,692.77.

Leading the charge higher was storage device maker Seagate Technology  (NASDAQ: STX  ) which rose 5% after being added to Longbow Research's "best ideas list" at the expense of Western Digital, which was dropped from the list (although both companies retain their buy rating with Longbow). The covering analyst, Joe Wittine, noted that Seagate's earnings-per-share estimates should rise over the coming quarters with a huge opportunity in solid-state drives, and that shareholders should benefit from Seagate's ongoing share repurchase program which will help boost EPS by lowering the amount of outstanding shares. As always, I'd suggest not letting one analyst's comments affect your long-term thesis, but this just happens to be one I agree with wholeheartedly. With a surge in big data centers expected, companies such as Seagate and Western Digital stand to benefit on both sides of the coin, making storage sales to PC users as well as enterprise customers running big data centers.

Life insurance, long-term care insurance, and annuity provider Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW  ) advanced 3.9% after announcing yesterday that it had begun filing for premium rate increases of 6%-13% for Privileged Choice and Classic Select policies sold between 2003 and 2012. In sum, Genworth is seeking a rate boost on approximately $800 million worth of annualized in-force premiums. The move is being made because life expectancies are improving (which for most businesses would be a good thing, but not in this case), and because fewer policies have lapsed. If the rate increase is approved, you can expect a nice bump in Genworth's bottom line next year.

Finally, broadcasting and publishing company Gannett (NYSE: GCI  ) jumped 3.6% after Belo (UNKNOWN: BLC.DL  ) shareholders approved the buyout of their company by Gannett for $2.2 billion, inclusive of debt. This was a big hurdle for Gannett as some on the Street had speculated the premium it offered wasn't high enough. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2013 so long as regulators approve. The Belo purchase provides Gannett with a discernible move away from publishing which should give it the ability to grow organically, something its publishing business has lacked in recent years. Keep Gannett on your Watchlist in the meantime.

The not-so-secret way to big gains
Tired of not seeing your holdings among the day's best performers? Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner, founder of the No. 1 growth stock newsletter in the world, has developed a unique strategy for uncovering truly wealth-changing stock picks. And he wants to share it, along with a few of his favorite growth stock superstars, WITH YOU! It's a special 100% FREE report called "6 Picks for Ultimate Growth." So stop settling for index-hugging gains... and click HERE for instant access to a whole new game plan of stock picks to help power your portfolio.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2654917, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/26/2016 3:06:23 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 2 days ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,261.45 -131.01 -0.71%
S&P 500 2,164.69 -12.49 -0.57%
NASD 5,305.75 -33.78 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/23/2016 4:55 PM
^GSPC $2164.69 Down -12.49 -0.57%
S&P 500 INDEX CAPS Rating: No stars
BLC.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Belo CAPS Rating: ****
GCI $11.75 Up +0.20 +1.73%
Gannett CAPS Rating: No stars
GNW $4.89 Down -0.06 -1.21%
Genworth Financial CAPS Rating: ****
STX $36.46 Up +0.06 +0.16%
Seagate Technology CAPS Rating: ****