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.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is unchanged today as multiple news stories are being hyped. As of 1:30 p.m. EST the Dow is down a forgettable 10 points, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) has lost about a point.
There are four big stories today.
Target (NYSE: TGT ) finally confirmed what many suspected: Customers' encrypted PIN data was stolen, along with the 40 million card accounts that it had already reported. The Motley Fool's director of investment planning recently wrote on what consumers should learn from the Target card breach.
In other news, a penny stock that shall remain nameless launched a bitcoin trading exchange yesterday. The $4 million -- or perhaps $15 million -- market cap company is up more than 70% today after being featured on the front page of multiple news sources, including MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business. Stay away.
General Motors (NYSE: GM ) and SAIC, its partner in China, are recalling 1.5 million cars in China due to a problem with a fuel pump bracket in their Buick Excelles and Chevrolet Sails. While the fix is expected to cost the company $80 per car over the long run, China will be a massive market for GM, and this will be a blip in the company's business there.
United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS ) learned the hard way that Americans love to procrastinate with their Christmas shopping. UPS was not prepared for the massive surge in last minute orders. According to Mercent, on Dec. 23, online orders jumped more than 60% from last year's levels.
What do these mean for long term investors?
Nothing. The broad stock market still looks overvalued. The Fed continues to pump billions into the economy through its quantitative-easing program, as well as its zero-interest-rate policy.
What can you do?
Constantly educate yourself, find great companies, and invest for the long term. Foolish contributor Morgan Housel recently wrote a good piece that gets to the heart of what is important: "99% of Long-Term Investing Is Doing Nothing; the Other 1% Will Change Your Life."
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