Unwelcome numbers from the Commerce Department drove the markets lower Wednesday; Wall Street was disappointed to see that GDP actually fell in the fourth quarter. It's the first time that the GDP has fallen since the recession officially ended, sparking fears that economic woes may not be fully behind us. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) fell 44 points, or 0.32%, to close at 13,910.
Confidence from management at embattled defense giant Boeing (NYSE:BA) helped shares to rally 1.3% today to lead all Dow components. Not only did Boeing's CEO say that the company had no plans to slow down on airplane production, but he said all was "business as usual." Oh, Boeing also reported earnings that exceeded analyst expectations, boasting a backlog of orders that set a company record. That helped, too.
The weak macroeconomic news didn't help industrial goods behemoth General Electric (NYSE:GE), as it fell 1.2%, to lead all laggards in the 30-company blue chip index. Although no company-specific news can be asserted as the main reason for the decline today, it's a testament to the state of technology and market expectations that GE should fall on a day where the company announced a "robotic-enabled intelligent system which could save patients' lives and hospitals millions," according to a humbly titled press release.
Outside of the Dow, big news from Research in Motion (NYSE:BB) -- including a name change, proposed ticker symbol change, and a brand new product offering that defines the company's future -- wasn't enough for Wall Street. In fact, the stock fell 12%, as investors yawned at RIM's new-look BlackBerry 10 models, one of which comes without the company's signature keyboard. The company also changed its name from Research in Motion to, simply, BlackBerry; the ticker will change from RIMM to BBRY.
Beleaguered oil and natural gas mainstay Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) was another one of the day's big movers, seeing shares rise 6% above yesterday's close. If CEO Aubrey McClendon didn't know he was loathed before, he does now, as the spike comes immediately after the embattled executive announced his retirement. Chesapeake investors were happy to see the Motley Fool's Worst CEO of the Year nominee for 2012 leave the very company he founded.
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