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.
Stocks edged higher on Tuesday, the first full day of the government shutdown. Today, President Obama told Wall Street directly that it should be more concerned, given the dynamics of Congress at the moment, about how constant political infighting will affect the economy. Giving up most of its gains from yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) lost 58 points, or 0.4%, to end at 15,133.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) shares rose 1% on reports that a handful of powerful shareholders may be trying to strong-arm Bill Gates from his position as chairman of the board. With Steve Ballmer's looming exit as the company's CEO, shareholders seem to really believe a new-look Microsoft could usher in a more innovative era for the company.
General Electric (NYSE: GE ) is breaking new ground of its own, after securing a $600 million equipment contract for a liquefied natural gas, or LNG, project in the Russian Arctic. It's the first Russian LNG deal GE has been a part of, and the good news sent GE's stock up 0.7%.
American Express (NYSE: AXP ) lost 1.8% as a continued crackdown against high-interest credit cards and fee collection gained further attention. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau vowed to push banks and credit card companies harder by restricting certain marketing strategy and reexamining fee limits.
Finally, United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) stock is feeling a direct hit from the temporary government shutdown, losing 2.2% after Defense Department inspectors stopped inspecting the production of Black Hawk helicopters. It's a nightmare for United Technologies, because work can't proceed without inspectors present.
Everything you need to know about the national debt
The shutdown is taking center stage on Capitol Hill right now, the debt ceiling is the next topic of debate. 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!