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.
After a losing week last week, the stock market had many investors hoping for a turnaround today. Yet despite a couple of pushes into positive territory, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) finished the day with a loss of 6 points. Broader market measures were mixed, with the S&P 500 finishing down slightly more than the Dow on a percentage basis while the Nasdaq Composite finished the day slightly higher.
Still, the quiet Dow didn't hold a couple of its components back. Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) led the Dow higher with its gain of more than 2%, building on gains late last week. Overcoming a price-target cut from a Wall Street analyst, Caterpillar has favorable future prospects as long as a rebound in commodity-mining and construction activity comes in the near future, and many stocks in the steel production and raw-commodity sectors have shown signs of having hit bottom and bounced higher recently. If that optimism feeds through to higher commodity prices, Caterpillar is in prime position to benefit.
Also, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) rose slightly more than 1% in advance of its quarterly earnings release on Wednesday. With Cisco having gotten a couple of analyst upgrades last week, today's favorable comments about rival F5 Networks seemed to make investors believe that prospects for the entire networking sector look favorable, letting Cisco participate in the run-up as well. Networking has gotten increasingly competitive, and Cisco's attempts to broaden its scope have also met with substantial resistance, but the earnings report should confirm whether the company's overall strategy is working out well.
Finally, BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) climbed more than 10% on speculation that it might decide to seek a buyer for the company. Just as hardware specialist Dell (UNKNOWN:DELL.DL) has attempted to do with its proposed going-private transaction, BlackBerry might benefit from escaping the limelight that publicly traded companies find themselves mired in, with so much emphasis on short-term results. Yet even if BlackBerry does succeed in making a strategic move, there's no guarantee that it'll be current shareholders who reap the lion's share of the rewards.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.