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.
Today's 75-point rise in the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) marked a fitting end to a great week for the market benchmark, as the Dow gained 3%, to bounce back even further from a poor August. Plenty of troubling issues still plague investors, most notably, the Federal Reserve's future course of monetary policy. Those issues didn't hold back the stock market today, however, with 23 of the Dow's 30 stocks finishing higher on the day.
The biggest decliners, including Alcoa, Johnson & Johnson, and Home Depot, fell largely due to a combination of macroeconomic conditions and company-specific strategic challenges. Those factors also affected some of the Dow's other poor performers. UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) lost about a third of a percent, as the company is less than three weeks away from the official start of Obamacare's health-insurance exchanges. Rival Aetna (NYSE:AET) announced earlier this week that it would choose to stay out of New Jersey's insurance exchange, after having previously said it would bow out in several other states. With UnitedHealth also steering clear of most of the exchanges, the company is making a big bet that it won't lose business to rivals who do participate.
AT&T (NYSE:T) also fell slightly, dropping about 0.2% despite saying that it will start offering the latest versions of the iPhone next Friday. With investors somewhat disappointed with the new releases, AT&T will need to work hard to sell its share of iPhones. What will be interesting to see, though, is whether the company's AT&T Next early upgrade program will gain traction, with the telecom giant hoping that customers will be willing to pay monthly fees in exchange for not having to put money down, and having the right to get a new phone within 12 months.
Finally, outside the Dow, Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) priced its secondary offering of stock at $93 per share, sending its stock down more than 5%, to fall below that level. Selling 4.5 million shares, the 3-D printing company will raise about $400 million from the sale for general corporate use. But investors have to keep in mind that potential dilution from the offering will reduce their potential profits from the company's growth, putting more pressure on Stratasys to deliver strong results that will produce gains for new and old investors alike.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Stratasys and UnitedHealth Group. The Motley Fool owns shares of Stratasys. 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.