The market's tug-of-war continued today, as investors have one more day to wait before the Federal Reserve weighs in on whether it will once again dump stimulus into the economy through another round of quantitative easing. Despite early gains on positive news from Germany about its role in the efforts to keep the European economy afloat, the market wasn't able to avoid worries about what could happen if the Fed doesn't come through with QE3. By the close, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) had pared its gains to just 10 points.
Some Dow stocks were winners, though. Verizon (NYSE: VZ) led the market higher, rising 1.5% as the long-awaited iPhone 5 finally made its public debut. Verizon's CFO, though, said that the mobile giant wouldn't suffer big profit-margin compression as a result of the release, in part because customers are choosing plans with larger-than-expected data options.
General Electric (NYSE: GE) also picked up 1.4% on the day. As Fool analyst Dan Dzombak noted earlier today, the FDIC chose not to take action today on GE's proposal to buy the banking business of MetLife (NYSE: MET). Given GE's success in emphasizing its core businesses, the MetLife Bank acquisition doesn't quite fit, but GE's Capital division is a lot healthier than it was during the financial crisis.
Finally, Travelers (NYSE: TRV) gained almost 1%. Low interest rates have been problematic for the entire insurance industry, as low-interest bonds don't generate as much income on premium float, leaving insurers scurrying for replacement income. But rising premium rates should help the company improve its results, as long as the hurricane season ends on a quiet note.
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Even a small gain is still a gain, and the right stocks can give you even better results over the long haul. General Electric has been a stalwart over the decades, but recent troubles have called that position into question. Is GE still a smart investment? Find out by reading our premium report on GE today.