The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is heading lower today, down 0.88% as of 3:15 p.m. EDT as the government shutdown stretches beyond a full week. Global markets and economists are continuing to watch the debt ceiling situation unfold, hoping to see U.S. leaders resolve the issue before the government exceeds its debt limits.
The frustrating situation hasn't given investors cause to be optimistic, and few Dow components are trading in positive territory today. But enough of the doom and gloom, here are a few global juggernauts doing something positive in the headlines.
Hooray for buying American
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) is the Dow's biggest winner today, trading up 1.6%. Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon announced earlier this year that the company would buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made products over the next decade. Last month, General Electric announced a $30 million investment to produce energy-efficient, soft-white light bulbs that would go on the shelves of 3,400 Wal-Mart locations by next summer.
On Monday, Redman & Associates announced it would invest $6.5 million and open a new manufacturing and distribution facility to produce 6-volt battery-powered ride-on toys exclusively for Wal-Mart. Industryweek quoted Simon as saying:
Today's announcement is an example of what can happen when companies, industry leaders and government work together to make production in the United States possible again. This agreement was a direct result of conversations held at our recent U.S. manufacturing summit. It reinforces our belief that we can revitalize American manufacturing and help rebuild the middle class with good-paying jobs that will allow employees to be a part of the American dream again.
Hooray for helping the world
Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) is another rare winner today, trading up 0.6%. The beverage industry juggernaut is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and has rewarded investors for decades. The iconic company is ambitious in anything it does, including its plan to double business by the end of the decade -- which is mind-boggling, considering it took 12 decades to get this far!
In socially responsible news, a group of nonprofit organizations and private businesses led by Coca-Cola committed to delivering as many as 2,000 water purification systems to rural areas in 20 countries by the end of 2015. One system to be distributed can purify up to 300,000 liters of water each year -- enough daily drinking water for 300 people.
"Through EKOCENTER, we have the ability to change lives by offering access to safe drinking water and other needed resources, all while empowering local entrepreneurs," said Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent, according to GreenBiz.com. "What started as an aspiration is now becoming a reality as we welcome our partners across the golden triangle of business, government and civil society to scale and improve this innovation."
Hooray for going green
Ford (NYSE: F ) has come a long way from the automaker it was in 2006 -- losing more than $30 billion between 2006 and 2008 and nearly going bankrupt. Since 2006, CEO Alan Mulally has staged one of the greatest business turnarounds in American history, and Ford is now producing higher quality vehicles and is in its best financial condition in over a decade. The Blue Oval is now taking the opportunity to go green.
Ford is expanding its electrification engineering jobs by nearly 50% and will have more than 500 salaried employees working on research and development to further the progress of its electric vehicles. It's also investing $50 million in EV development centers to further strengthen vehicle quality. It gets better: the folks at the Blue Oval are doubling the company's battery-testing capabilities to help speed hybrid and EV development by 25%. Ford's plug-in hybrid vehicles drive enough electric-only miles each day to travel around the Earth nearly eight times -- a number that continues to increase rapidly.
Sure, it's frustrating to read the headlines this week that revolve around government incompetence and looming default threats. It's frustrating to see those situations impact the market negatively, but there's always positive news -- you just have to dig for it. Cheers to the successful companies above for making positive headlines at a time when gloom and doom are hogging the spotlight.
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