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.
The U.S's involvement in the Syrian conflict once again caused stress for investors today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was in triple-digit territory early this morning, but as government officials began voicing their opinions about why the U.S. should enter the region, stocks began falling and traded in the red for a few hours. But around 3 p.m. EDT, the index turned positive once more and managed to close the session in the black after gaining 23 points, or 0.16%. The other major indexes also followed a similar path, as the S&P 500 closed higher by 0.42% and the Nasdaq ended the day up 0.63%.
When talk of war started, not all stocks began heading lower. United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) rose 2.56%, making it the best-performing Dow component of the day. The company's Pratt & Whitney division is its second-largest revenue generator and should benefit if the U.S. does use military force in Syria, no matter how much force is used. This action also comes at a time when the company has been hurt by Pentagon spending cuts related to the sequestration and other government spending programs that have been pared back.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) also saw its shares rise but it was unrelated to the Syria conflict. Instead, it was based on the announcement that Verizon is purchasing the 45% stake Vodafone owns of Verizon Wireless. This deal and the bond offering associated with it will produce fees of more than $600 million, of which JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley will collect the lion's share. That is a nice chunk of change for processing the deal and underwriting the debt offering. Shares of JPMorgan rose 1.19% today.
The Dow's other banking stock, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), also rose higher, gaining 0.92%. The bank reported earlier today that it had started selling its stake in China Construction Bank and could get as much as $1.5 billion from the proceeds of the sale. This is an investment Bank of America has been divesting for a number of years, but this final sale will have the bank completely out of the Chinese company. The sale also comes at a time when the Chinese banking industry has begun showing signs of stress as the economy in that country is weakening. For B of A shareholders, this is one less liability they need to worry about.
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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. 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.
The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Bank of America. It also owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. 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.