The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) traveled quite a bumpy road today, and although it had fallen lower by 50 points at one point, it managed to close higher for the day, even though it was up only 3.38 points, or 0.02%, when the clock read 4 p.m. EDT today. The blue chip index now sits at 15,464, which happens to be another all-time closing record high. The other major indexes performed slightly better, with the S&P 500 gaining 0.31%, and the Nasdaq increasing by 0.61%.
So what happened today? This morning, two economic reports were released, which were not great, but not terrible, either. The first was the U.S. producer price index, a good indicator of inflation, which rose by 0.8% in June. This was the biggest increase since last September. In June, the bulk of the increase was due to a rise in oil prices, but even still, the so-called core wholesale prices rose 0.2% during the month. That figure excludes volatile categories such as food and energy.
The second was the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, which, based on the preliminary reading for July, has fallen slightly, down to 83.9, from 84.1 last month. This is also the second month in a row in which the figures have deteriorated. The index hit a six-year high in May, at 84.7, but then fell last month, and now, again, in July. But, neither of these reports are all that bad, and the Dow was moving higher this morning after they were released, and didn't start declining until news about Boeing (NYSE:BA) hit the markets.
Shares of the aircraft manufacturer closed down by 4.69% today on news that a 787 Dreamliner was on fire at London's Heathrow Airport, but shares had fallen as much as 7% immediately after the news broke. That fall pulled the Dow into negative territory. The 787 is the aircraft that was grounded for several months earlier in the year due to issues with the battery systems overheating and, in one case, catching on fire. The plane has since been allowed to fly but, while its unknown what caused today's incident, investors weren't taking chances, as we saw heavy selling pressure.
Shares of General Electric (NYSE:GE) closed the session lower by 0.75%. The company was quick to report that the fire on the Ethiopian Airlines 787 did not involve the plane's engines, which are made by General Electric. GE did state that they were monitoring the situation, but had no further comment at this time.
An interesting side note to the 787 Dreamliner fire is that the first planes that were retrofitted with new equipment after the 787 was grounded were owned by Ethiopian Airlines. Having said that, we do not know when this particular plane received its upgraded equipment.
Another Dow loser today was Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), as shares declined 0.38% this afternoon. Based on the most recent data available, the stock has, once again, taken the top spot on the Dow's most shorted stock list. The previous number one spot was held by Alcoa, which now sits in the fourth spot. Year to date, Intel is up 15.91%, just short of the Dow's 18.01% rise. While some investors have bought into the idea that Intel is now a legitimate contender in the mobile chip market, others still feel the company has too much exposure to PCs, and has not advanced its mobile offerings enough to take a meaningful amount of the mobile market share.
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Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513.
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