After last week, in which investors received very little economic data, the markets were hit with a poor industrial production report from China and decent retail sales figures from here at home. But despite what some would call a stimulant and actual factual information investors had to trade on today, it seemed rumors about the possibility that the Federal Reserve would soon cut back on its quantitative easing program attracted more attention today.
And that rumor, as opposed to hard data, is probably why the markets ended the day flat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) moved lower by 26 points, or what amounts to a 0.18%, decline, as the S&P 500 rose just 0.07 points, or a 0% move, and the Nasdaq posted a strong 0.06% increase for the day.
This morning I pointed out what was causing Alcoa, Caterpillar, Intel, and Wal-Mart to move lower. Click here to read about those companies and how the poor production growth in China and retail sales figures played into their declining share prices.
A few other Dow losers
Shares of both AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) moved lower today by 0.96% and 0.64%, respectively. While the two companies are direct competitors, they also share a similar goal -- maintaining control of the U.S. wireless service industry. Similar to the duopoly in the soft-drink market with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, AT&T and Verizon essentially control the cellular industry in America. But competition and the fight for market share are increasing, which is causing investors' concerns today. Rene Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, recently said that T-Mobile is increasing its number of customers. And while that could mean the company is stealing them away from either AT&T or Verizon, it definitely means that the smaller players in the industry aren't just sitting back feeling content with their position in third or fourth place.
Shares of DuPont (NYSE:DD) fell slightly more than 1% today despite a favorable Supreme Court ruling earlier in the day. The court ruled that farmers can't use later-generation seeds or previously genetically engineered seeds without paying the owners of the patented product. While DuPont wasn't directly involved in the case, Monsanto (NYSE:MON) a DuPont competitor and a seed developer with which DuPont has licensing deals, was the plaintiff in the case. The high court ruled in favor of Monsanto, which sued a farmer for using second- and third-generation seeds that came from plants grown from first-generation genetically engineered Monsanto soybean seeds. Today's ruling will sustain the business model of both Monsanto and DuPont when it comes to their seed technology units.