Stock markets couldn't sustain their midday surge, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) both fell into negative territory in late trading. As of 3:15 p.m. EST, the Dow is down 0.06% for the day, while the S&P 500 has lost 0.11%.
Economic news was light today, and even some encouraging corporate news didn't get investors excited. Disney (NYSE:DIS) released financial results after the close yesterday, revealing earnings of $0.79 per share versus estimates of $0.76. The company's revenue was also up 5%, and CEO Bob Iger announced that there would be new Star Wars movies outside of the nine George Lucas had originally planned. Disney clearly isn't messing around after its $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm late last year. Still, the stock was only up 0.6%.
3M (NYSE:MMM) announced an 8% increase in its dividend to $0.635 per share and a $7.5 billion share buyback program. This isn't an earth-shattering move, considering that 3M has now increased its dividend for 55 straight years, but it is a bullish indication for the market.
In the commodities market, oil fell nearly $2 per barrel and then quickly rebounded after an inventory report was released. Crude supplies were up 2.6 million barrels last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but analysts had expected an even larger jump of 3 million barrels. A report from the American Petroleum Institute yesterday showed a 3.6 million-barrel rise in inventory, so the lower number from the EIA eased some fears for the short term.
ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron are trading slightly lower due to the pressure on oil prices. I don't think today's report is anything to panic over, but as oil markets adjust to increased domestic supply, there could be some turmoil in the markets. Exxon and Chevron are well-equipped to deal with that and are relatively safe picks in the energy space.