Why You Should Love the Dow's Debt-Ceiling-Debate Drop

If you had hoped that government leaders would make substantial progress on reopening the government over the weekend, you were just as disappointed as most investors were today. The stock market has fallen again this morning as Washington failed to resolve the government shutdown, and pressure is now mounting to increase the debt ceiling to avoid a potential default on the U.S. Treasury's debt obligations. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) had recovered from opening losses of 1% but were still down 90 points, falling below the 15,000 level.

Yet for long-term investors, the shutdown crisis could well be a blessing in disguise, as it has given them a chance to pick up shares of blue-chip companies at cheaper prices. For instance, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) has fallen more than 1% today, adding to losses of about 1.5% last week after the shutdown took place. Fears about the shutdown's impact on the broader economy have analysts looking for potential pullbacks in spending among consumers. But in past times of economic stress, those factors have actually benefited Wal-Mart, as cash-strapped shoppers move down from pricier retailers to seek bargains. Wal-Mart is taking steps to capitalize on its best opportunities, and short-term share-price drops are an opportunity to participate in any success that results from them.

At the same time, investors in some stocks are looking past the shutdown at prospects for future growth and bidding shares higher. AT&T and Verizon are both up today, with AT&T picking up almost 1% while Verizon has risen 0.7%. Both mobile giants are looking at strong results from the most recent iPhone 5s and 5c launches, both of which have seen solid demand from consumers despite analysts' initial views that the phones weren't innovative enough to justify their prices. With efforts to encourage upgrades and reduce reliance on subsidies, Verizon and AT&T should both benefit from continued smartphone demand.

Admittedly, some declines are justified. Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) has fallen 0.6% after rival Airbus won a lucrative order from Japan Airlines. Yet even though missing out on the $9 billion order is a disappointment for shareholders, Boeing has identified trillions of dollars of opportunity over the coming decades to reap aircraft sales. In the long run, Boeing's overall execution will be more important than any individual order.

Don't Let the Government Cost You Money
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