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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.
Investors seemed content just getting through this holiday-shortened week, with the major averages not moving much. A few individual stocks did make some major moves, but after three and a half days of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) moved up only 21 points, or 0.13%, while the S&P 500 increased by 1 point, or 0.05%. The Nasdaq easily outperformed both, climbing 68 points, or 1.7%, and finished the week at 4,059, a level it hasn't seen in years.
Black Friday kicked off the shopping season, and for the most part, the preliminary numbers look decent as the big retailers were doing everything they could to get shoppers in the doors, even opening up earlier than ever on Thanksgiving Day. It's no surprise, then, that the Dow's two big retailers, Wal-Mart and Home Depot, avoided being on the list of losers for the past few trading days of trading. Their share prices rose 1.5% and 1.88%, respectively, last week.
The Dow's top stock of the week was American Express (NYSE: AXP ) , as shares of the credit card company rose 2.32%. With reported record-breaking numbers at Wal-Mart and other retailers, and millions of transactions taking place, the credit card company is certainly making a little money this weekend, and investors were trying to get on board before the company reported any numbers that could send the stock even higher. In addition to Black Friday, AmEx is sure to benefit from Cyber Monday, as consumers pull out their cards to make online purchases, and from Small Business Saturday, which the company has promoted since 2010.
Last week's big losers
General Electric (NYSE: GE ) fell 1.55% last week, after Boeing released a statement on Monday warning of a potential problem with GE-made engines that power the 787 Dreamliner and the newest 747. Boeing said planes with those engines should avoid high-altitude thunderstorms, which could lead to engine icing. GE quickly responded with a statement telling investors the company was working on getting a fix moved through the regulatory process. But until those changes are approved, both Boeing and General Electric will have to deal with the increased liability risk. This could also raise concerns about other General Electric engines, both those currently in use and those yet to be built.
Both the worst and third worst Dow stocks to own this past week came from the energy sectors, as ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) fell 1.61% and 1.28%, respectively. The oil industry as a whole felt the effect of an international agreement on Iran's nuclear program. With many sanctions being lifted, Iran will see its oil reserves opened to the world, and the added supply will depress commodity prices. That's good for consumers but bad for the oil congolmerates and their share prices.
The other Dow losers this week:
- AT&T, down 0.59%
- Boeing, down 1.26%
- Cisco, down 0.97%
- DuPont, down 0.51%
- Intel, down 0.12%
- IBM, down 0.89%
- Johnson & Johnson, down 0.61%
- JPMorgan Chase, down 0.41%
- McDonald's, down 0.91%
- Pfizer, down 1.21%
- Procter & Gamble, down 0.85%
- Coca-Cola, down 0.59%
- Verizon, down 1.19%
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