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.
With all the gloomy news that plagued the stock market during August, investors were due for a break. The Federal Reserve helped make investors more optimistic, with its Beige Book measure of economic conditions in regions throughout the U.S. pointing to a slow but steady expansion in most of the nation so far in the third quarter. Even fears that conflict in Syria could create unexpected surprises didn't hold back the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI), which gained 97 points. Broader markets enjoyed even bigger gains on a percentage basis, with the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) climbing a full 1%.
Finishing the day as the Dow's biggest winner and also helping the Nasdaq was Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), which rose 2.6%. As Fool contributor Dan Carroll described earlier today, the company released a new set of data-center products aimed at the cloud-computing industry. Emphasizing energy efficiency and performance, Intel's new Silvermont micro-architecture could help it come out with more products in the future. Yet Intel still has to prove that it can make its cloud data-center division a true driver of growth for its overall results, as it hasn't made a big dent in its PC-related woes to date.
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) also fizzed higher, posting a 1.7% gain after announcing its support for new programs helping to create sustainable clean-water and sanitation solutions for city-dwellers in four African nations. Given the company's success in marketing bottled water as a cleaner alternative to less expensive water sources despite its using municipal water supplies for its Dasani water brand, Coca-Cola's efforts to strengthen water infrastructure in underdeveloped nations could eventually have the positive business impact of supporting its own bottling efforts.
Finally, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) recovered more than half of its losses from yesterday, with an advance of 1.7%. With its $130 billion buyout of partner Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless, the company has essentially cast its lot with the U.S. market. In particular, comments from CEO Lowell McAdam downplayed the considered alternative of expanding into Canada, and investors appear to be fairly comfortable that Verizon's strategy is sound going forward.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter: @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola and Intel and owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.