Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
When Mr. Market has "tapering" on his mind, he goes nowhere but down, no matter what economic news tells us. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) have fallen 0.55% late in trading, following other global indexes down as it looks increasingly likely that the Federal Reserve will soon begin to wind down its $85 billion-per-month bond-buying program. Fed official Charles Evans said the market could handle tapering later this year and predicted that GDP growth would reach 2.5% in the second half and 3% next year. Most people glossed over the bullish economic predictions and focused solely on the tapering comments.
It was also reported today that the trade deficit fell substantially to $34.2 billion, primarily because oil imports dropped to $17.4 billion because of a spike in production. This is a long-term driver of growth in the U.S. and brings energy independence within sight.
IBM (NYSE:IBM) has led the Dow's downward slide, falling 2.3% today. The stock is the biggest component of the Dow by virtue of its high price, so it makes for a hefty anchor on the index when its value drops. Today the stock was downgraded by analysts at Credit Suisse, who now rate it "underperform." Analyst Kulbinder Garcha thinks the company's business is "effectively in decline" and that the stock is overvalued as a result. Analyst ratings can have an impact on a stock for a day or two, but in the long term the stock will trade on performance, so this isn't a reason to panic.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock is up 1.4% less than an hour ahead of its quarterly earnings report. Disney has beaten expectations for the past year and is doing well monetizing the media franchises it has acquired in recent years. This is a company dominating media, and investors are clearly expecting strong results today. Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.01 per share on revenue of $11.65 billion.