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.
Index futures as of 7:35 EST suggest a flat start for the stock market today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) set to gain an insignificant seven points at the opening bell.
Individual investors are heading back into stocks in a big way, according to a report this morning from The Wall Street Journal. More cash has flowed into mutual funds so far this year than in any year since 2004, the Journal said. And investors as a whole are feeling particularly bullish right now: 45% have a positive view of stocks -- the long-term average is 39%. That contribution from retail investors has helped push the Dow up 20% this year to all-time highs. Still, stocks overall are getting more expensive: They now fetch a valuation of 15 times expected earnings versus a P/E of 13 at the start of the year.
With that bigger picture in mind, here are a few individual stock stories to watch for in today's market.
Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) is teaming up with the U.S. Postal Service to offer Sunday deliveries. Initially limited to its New York and Los Angeles markets, the service should expand to cover much more of the U.S. population in 2014. Costly Sunday deliveries will probably pressure Amazon's already tiny profit margin, but they should help boost its base of Prime subscribers, who, as the company notes, "voraciously shop on Amazon." The stock is down slightly in premarket trading.
Transocean (NYSE: RIG ) shares are on the move after the company this morning announced that it reached a deal with billionaire investor Carl Icahn. As part of the agreement, it plans to propose a $3-per-share dividend at its next shareholders' meeting, along with changes to the composition and size of its board of directors. Transocean also said it will explore a new master limited partnership financing structure. The stock is up 2.1% in premarket trading.
Finally, Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO ) this morning reported a 48% jump in revenue to $85.4 million for the third quarter. The in-flight wireless provider saw its adjusted net loss rise to $18.7 million from the $13 million loss it posted last year. Gogo's sales gains were powered by a 24% rise in the number of aircraft it services; the company booked new clients, including its first foreign-based carrier, Japan Airlines. The company also raised its full-year revenue guidance slightly to as high as $325 million. Gogo stock is up 14.4% in premarket trading.
Go beyond the daily swings
Amazon is clearly disrupting retail right now. To learn more about its prospects as we head into the critical holiday season, take a look at The Motley Fool's special free report: "The Death of Wal-Mart: The Real Cash Kings Changing the Face of Retail." In it, you'll see how these two cash kings are able to consistently outperform and how they're planning to ride the waves of retail's changing tide. You can access it by clicking here.