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.
Tuesday has been another quiet day for the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) , which opened lower and dipped briefly below the 16,000 level before recovering to fall just 17 points as of 11 a.m. EST. With the holiday season leading to some slow news days, investors are already looking forward to the middle of next week for the all-important Federal Reserve decision on whether to reduce its trillion-dollar annual pace of bond buying. Still, individual stocks showed signs of life, with Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) making gains even as Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) fell.
For Goldman and JPMorgan, which respectively gained 1.8% and 0.5%, the positive news for the morning was the announcement that the much-anticipated Volcker rule will not take effect until 2015 at the earliest, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission member Bart Chilton. The move will allow JPMorgan and Goldman to keep up their proprietary trading activities for a longer time without being banned by the rule. Despite expectations that regulators will adopt the Volcker rule in meetings today, news of the delay should give the two banks ample time to prepare for the impact.
Meanwhile, Pfizer fell 1% after the Supreme Court chose not to hear the drugmaker's appeal of a $142 million verdict against the company. The result stemmed from allegations that Pfizer's Warner-Lambert unit promoted its Neurontin drug for off-label purposes without demonstrating its effectiveness in treating those conditions. The result now opens the door to suits from other parties, including a class action lawsuit that will have insurers, employers, and union-based health-expense funds as plaintiffs.
Finally, Coca-Cola fell 1.1%, as the biggest example of the trend away from certain defensive sectors in the Dow today. Coke has a solid dividend and a mature market underlying its business, but recent worries about sluggish sales in core markets have investors wondering if the stock's best days are behind it. Despite health concerns and some disappointing results in various emerging markets, Coke's high valuation compared to its earnings is the best argument bearish investors have that the soft-drink giant could be ready for a pullback.
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