Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
Following a long series of record highs throughout 2013, the stock market is finally blowing off a little steam. As of 12:45 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) are down 54 points, adding to this week's losses as investors begin to adjust to the prospect of reduced stimulus from the Federal Reserve. Yet despite the amount of attention the week's decline has received, the drop of about 200 points represents just a 1.3% move -- put another way, it's less than a tenth of the more than 2,300 points the Dow has gained since the beginning of the year.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) had been the biggest early decliner in the Dow, but it has steadily clawed back from the session's lows, now down less than 2%. After an immediate knee-jerk reaction to the multimedia giant's earnings disappointment, long-term investors might well be reasserting their long-term vision of the company's growth prospects. Shareholders can expect more movie flops like The Lone Ranger from time to time, but with the general demand for high-quality content continuing to rise amid the revolution in the television and entertainment industry, Disney's long-term value proposition hasn't been diminished by a single quarter's results.
Taking over Disney's spot as the biggest loser of the day is Bank of America, falling 1.9% in the face of new allegations from the Department of Justice, SEC, and New York Attorney General. What's interesting, though, is that fellow Dow component JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) hasn't fallen in nearly as much: Its shares have bounced back almost to breakeven in early afternoon trade, though the bank faces its own legal troubles. Most recently, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and others were accused of price-fixing and manipulation of the aluminum market. Yet with JPMorgan having decided to exit the physical-commodity-trading business, investors are hoping the sector's biggest risk has passed JPMorgan by. JPMorgan's relative strength shows that Bank of America's latest problem affects it and it alone, and that could hurt B of A's competitive position in the banking industry.
Finally, beyond the Dow, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) has plunged 13.5% following last night's weak quarterly report. Yet despite massive drops in revenue and earnings from year-ago levels -- sales fell 46%, leading to a drop of about 70% in net income -- First Solar's more interesting news for long-term investors came from the company's partnership with Dow component General Electric (NYSE:GE), which will involve the two companies working together on thin-film solar cell and module technology and will result in GE buying 1.75 million shares of First Solar. For GE, the move bolsters its already strong presence in the renewable-energy field, and for First Solar, having the giant conglomerate in its camp could boost its long-term growth prospects as well.