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 daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
Economic activity surged in the Midwest in October according to the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, but it wasn't enough to stop stocks from sliding for the second day in a row as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) fell 73 points, or 0.5%.
The manufacturing index jumped to 65.9, its highest level since 2004 and the biggest jump in more than 30 years, up from 55.7 in September. The October figure soared past estimates of 55. The upsurge was driven by double-digit gains in new orders, production, and order backlogs, and the report seems especially promising since it came during a month when the government was shut down for over two weeks. Meanwhile, initial unemployment claims fell to 340,000 from 350,000 a week ago, but that was worse than estimates of 335,000.
Reacting to those economic reports and a slew of earnings releases including those of Facebook, Starbucks, and ExxonMobil, the Dow was particularly volatile today, trading up most of the afternoon but dipping late for no clear reason. With the Fed's recent decision to maintain its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program now in the rearview mirror, the market seems to be struggling to find a new focal point.
In today's earnings reports, Avon Products (NYSE: AVP ) imploded, falling 22% after revealing in its earnings report today that it could face worse punishment than expected for a bribery scandal. The beauty-products maker said SEC had demanded "monetary penalties of a magnitude significantly greater" than it had anticipated, resulting from accusations that the company paid off foreign officials. Operations-wise, Avon continued to struggle as sales were down 7% and earnings per share fell to a loss of penny, both worse than expectations.
Moving the other direction was Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE ) , which jumped 18%, as earnings beat estimates, coming in at $1.43 vs. the $1.35 consensus. Sales also increased 17% as the online travel industry seems to have fertile ground in hotel bookings. Expedia owns Hotels.com. The company also said that referrals from TripAdvisor had improved.
Can't-miss stock picks
Dividend stocks can make you rich. It's as simple as that. While they don't garner the notoriety of high-flying growth stocks, they're also less likely to crash and burn. And over the long term, the compounding effect of the quarterly payouts, as well as their growth, adds up faster than most investors imagine. With this in mind, our analysts sat down to identify the absolute best of the best when it comes to rock-solid dividend stocks, drawing up a list in this free report of nine that fit the bill. To discover the identities of these companies before the rest of the market catches on, you can download this valuable free report by simply clicking here now.