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.
Eight out of 10 sectors rose today, nearly six in 10 stocks added ground, and the S&P 500 Index (INDEX: ^GSPC), along with the Dow, pushed ahead to all-time closing highs on Friday. This week, Ben Bernanke's dovish successor at the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, took another step toward confirmation, inflation remained low, and jobless claims came in below expectations. With the U.S. still slowly but surely recovering from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and corporate profits better than ever, investors are returning to the market. The S&P added eight points, or 0.5%, to end above the 1,800 mark for the first time in history, finishing at 1,804.
While investors are indeed more optimistic than recent years, one thing investors can't ignore is the company-specific outlook for the business they own. In buying a stock, shareholders stake their claim to a fraction of the future cash flows of a company, and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) painted a less-than-flattering picture of that future today. Shares fell 5.4% after the chipmaker projected essentially flat revenue for 2014. The headwinds Intel faces as the PC market dies an unpleasant death are well known, but Wall Street simply expected the company to diversify more rapidly away from that sort of exposure.
Stock in communication equipment maker JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ: JDSU) slumped 3.1% despite no major bearish developments with the company. The stock itself is highly volatile, and with technology and telecom ending as the only two sectors in the red today, the stock was a natural candidate to underperform. JDS Uniphase shares are down more than 25% in the last month alone, and weren't helped much by industry communications leader Cisco Systems' extremely disappointing quarterly results earlier this month.
Closing out our list of laggards is U.S. Steel (NYSE: X), which saw shares drop 2.9%. Today's drop comes almost exclusively at the hands of a Wells Fargo analyst by the name of Mr. Sam Dubinsky. His sour outlook on U.S. Steel is predicated by his view that cost-cutting measures at the company have been met with overblown optimism on Wall Street -- optimism that will soon be crushed by reality. U.S. Steel is currently one of the S&P 500's most shorted stocks, despite swinging to a profit in its most recent quarter.
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