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Dow Ends 6-Week Winning Streak

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/08/09/dow-ends-6-week-winning-streak.aspx

John Divine
August 9, 2013

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.

Losing ground for the fourth time in five days after reaching record highs last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) headed into the weekend on a sour note. Friday's 72-point decline steepened the index's weekly losses, with the Dow off more than 230 points in five days. Although 230 points sounds like a heavy sell-off, it's only a 1.5% haircut, and the reason behind the move was almost entirely speculative. Wall Street is spooked by the U.S. economy's slow, but steady, progress, fearing the Fed will wind down easy-money policies soon. Despite a dearth of bad news, the Dow dropped 0.5%, ending at 15,425 Friday. 

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) was far and away the best performer today, surging 3.9%. Though earlier this week the U.S. reported a narrower trade deficit, Alcoa's two-day surge has more to do with China's economy. Yesterday, China reported higher-than-expected imports and exports, suggesting more prosperous times in the world's second-biggest economy. Friday brought more good news from the East for the aluminum giant: Chinese industrial production climbed nearly 10% in July from last year, kick-starting the basic materials sector, which was the only sector ending in the green today. 

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), also riding the coattails of China's factory data, tacked on 0.7%. The industrial machinery behemoth has severely lagged the Dow this year, as a decelerating Chinese economy, and wavering commodities prices, combined to send shares more than 5% lower. The numbers from China in the last two days are encouraging, but it's a little early to call the numbers indicative of a "trend." A few more months of sustaine