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.
After five consecutive days of declines, it would appear at least two of the three major indexes have a strong chance of snapping the losing streak today. As of 1 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is up 74 points, or 0.47%, the S&P 500 is higher by 0.44%, and the Nasdaq is up 0.01%.
The Federal Open Market Committee began its first meeting of 2014 this morning, and its members will certainly be discussing tapering the Fed's asset purchase program again. Central bank members decided last month to cut monthly asset purchases from $85 billion to $75 billion. Some believed the Fed would again lower the amount this week; while that may happen, with what the markets are doing these days it doesn't seem investors are overly concerned about the bank's decision this week.
With five more days until Super Bowl XLVIII and 10 more days until the Winter Olympics kick off in in Sochi, Russia, shares of the world's largest and most influential athletic apparel company Nike (NYSE:NKE) are up more than 1% today. Both the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics will feature athletes at their best and wearing Nike's clothing. From a marketing standpoint these images are the best thing in the world, as youngsters soon equate greatness in sports with Nike. Wall Street already expects the company to produce higher numbers during the quarter following these events, but investors certainly have the confidence today that Nike can match if not beat those expectations.
Outside the Dow, shares of the Gorilla Glass manufacturer Corning (NYSE:GLW) are lower by nearly 6% today. The move comes after the company reported quarterly earnings this morning in which it beat on revenue and earnings per share. But investors didn't like seeing gross margin fall 2% from a year ago, or the fact that management believes the price of LCD glass will again fall in 2014, despite volume increasing. The price decline is certainly where some of the margin pressure is coming from, but that doesn't mean investors are going to like it.
Another big loser after reporting earnings this morning is Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII), which is down 20% at this time. The company reported fourth-quarter earnings per share of $0.25, down from $0.80 a year ago and lower than the $0.75 analysts were predicting. On a revenue standpoint things looked better: the company posted $769.6 million in sales, up from $758.4 million last year, but analysts wanted to see $787.9 million. Furthermore, same-store sales fell 1.1%. Management stated that this was the most difficult December in years, as customers are facing increasingly difficult economic situations and the company faces an increasingly competitive environment. Those types of comments are certainly not ringing endorsements for the health of the U.S. economy.
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Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Corning and Nike. The Motley Fool owns shares of Corning and Nike. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.