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.
On a day ruled by retail earnings reports and devoid of big economic news, the markets are moving higher. All three of the major U.S. indexes are up at this time: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has gained 0.32%, the S&P 500 is up 0.68%, and the Nasdaq is 0.9% higher.
The markets are likely rising because of the encouraging quarterly reports released by retail companies today. They are an indication that the American consumer may be better off than we thought and that our consumer-driven economy is fully on its way to recovery.
However, even though the majority of stocks are higher, a handful of Dow stocks are losing out today. Let's take a look at some of them and find out why.
Shares of United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) are down marginally today. The company recently took the blame for the incorrectly assembled fire-fighting system on board a number of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The defect caused the wrong fire extinguisher to activate in the case of an engine fire. The Boeing 787 has been plagued with problems since the start of the year, and while United Technologies supplies a number of key components for the aircraft, this is the first time it has been at fault.
On a generally upbeat day for retailers, the largest U.S. retailer, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), is heading the opposite direction. Shares are down 0.3% as investors consider how Wal-Mart performed this past quarter relative to competitors who reported today. Wal-Mart didn't have the best quarter, blaming the poor results on higher taxes and gasoline prices. But judging by the earnings results from Best Buy and TJX -- big competition for Wal-Mart in electronics and discount goods, respectively -- it's not that consumers have less cash; it's just that Wal-Mart is missing out on the cash they have.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) is down 0.2% after it was reported this morning that the company has sold 80 apartment properties to investment firm Blackstone for $2.7 billion. Some investors may be happy about this deal because it will eliminate some of the distractions taking management's focus off the core business. However, others may believe this was a mistake. In case you haven't heard, we're in the middle of a housing rebound, and home real estate is climbing each and every month. Shareholders may have been better off if GE had held on to those units for another year or two while prices continued to rise.
Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. 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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