Morning Dow Report: Why Exxon, Chevron, and Merck Are Worth Watching

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.

Today will bring the Federal Open Market Committee's last policy decision of Ben Bernanke's tenure as Federal Reserve chairman, marking another milestone in the recovery from the financial crisis five years ago. As investors anxiously await the central bank's 's next move as the Janet Yellen era looms on the horizon, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) seemed to signal their optimism, rising 45 points as of 11 a.m. EST. Overall, few Dow components made major moves, but news affecting Merck (NYSE: MRK  ) , Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) , and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) was noteworthy despite the limited impact on their share prices.

Merck's announced collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) to develop a combination treatment to fight renal cell cancer didn't help either stock move higher, with Merck edging down 0.1% and Glaxo falling 0.6%. But the start of a clinical trial combining Glaxo's pazopanib kinase-inhibitor and Merck's MK-3475 immunotherapy treatment could help demonstrate the effectiveness of blocking PD-1 proteins and encouraging natural immune responses to fight cancer and other diseases. In the long run, success in clinical trials like this one could lead to breakthroughs across the pharma industry.

Meanwhile, Exxon and Chevron both posted solid gains of about 1%. West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices rose above $98, but the move upward for both energy giants seemed to center on broader investor optimism that the companies can overcome production challenges and enjoy greater success from new energy finds across the globe. That enthusiasm was strong enough to help Chevron's stock overcome an adverse yesterday ruling that opened up its Canadian assets to potential levy in connection with an Ecuadoran judgment against the oil company. Overall, investors continue to see strong growth in energy, and that's leading to greater interest even in the biggest oil companies that could help them survive the Fed's inevitable decision to cut back its stimulus efforts -- whether that decision comes today or in the future.

What's the best energy play in the market?
Exxon and Chevron have benefited from record oil and natural gas production in the U.S., but finding the best plays in the industry can be much more profitable for your portfolio. For this reason, the Motley Fool is offering a comprehensive look at three energy companies set to soar during this transformation in the energy industry. To find out which three companies are spreading their wings, check out the special free report, "3 Stocks for the American Energy Bonanza." Don't miss out on this timely opportunity; click here to access your report -- it's absolutely free. 

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

DocumentId: 2769545, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 4/18/2014 11:14:32 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...