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.
Stocks managed to move slightly higher today, breaking a three-day losing streak and giving investors a little bit of relief from the uncertainty about what impact Fed policy could have on the nearly four-and-a-half-year-old bull market. By the close, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) had recovered from early losses to close up 28 points, while broader market measures were up slightly more strongly on a percentage basis.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) led the Dow's losing contingent, falling more than 1%. What's surprising is that while Intel shares some of the same growth concerns as Microsoft, the software giant was the Dow's biggest winner in today's session. Unlike Microsoft, which benefited from an analyst upgrade that highlighted the company's enterprise segment, Intel remains much more concentrated on consumer demand for PCs. Moreover, even if Intel is successful in penetrating the mobile market, it will still be exposed to changes in consumer demand. That worked to its benefit when PCs reigned over the tech world, but now that Intel is playing a catch-up role, it represents a potential challenge.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) finished down 0.85% on the day, with Reuters reporting that the Department of Justice's investigation of the mortgage-backed securities business of Bear Stearns during the period immediately before the financial crisis has started ramping up with interviews of people involved in Bear's EMC Mortgage unit. Yet JPMorgan also faces a U.S. attorney investigation in California, and between its own mortgage-securities business and those of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, which JPMorgan bought during the financial crisis, there could be a lot more potential liability down the road for the bank.
Finally, telecom companies Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T) both posted losses of between 0.5% and 1% today. Rival T-Mobile saw its first gain in contract-plan customers since the end of 2010, adding 688,000 net customers during the second quarter and seeing churn levels drop to their lowest ever. With AT&T and Verizon already facing the potential for increased competition from Sprint, the emergence of the No. 4 carrier as well marks a somewhat unexpected development that the two carrier giants will have to overcome.