Markets are feeling poorly today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) down more than 125 points by midmorning, and the S&P 500 losing 12 points. It seems that the initial devil-may-care attitude that prevailed yesterday, the first day of the government shutdown, is ebbing as investors start to worry about a long-term siege.
Adding to the melancholy was the ADP payroll report earlier this morning, showing that the economy added only 166,000 private-sector jobs in September, versus the 176,000 positions filled in August. Expectations were a bit lofty, as it turns out, with most experts expecting a number around 178,000.
A few bright spots
By late morning, the Dow was rallying a bit, and several stocks managed to creep into the green. Disney (NYSE:DIS) was in positive territory most of the morning, despite some glitches in its contract talks with DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH).
The two companies have extended the deadline for negotiations due to a stumbling block called AutoHop, a DISH feature that lets viewers skip through commercials on recorded programs. This little element has caused big problems for DISH, which is being sued by the likes of CBS over the fact that consumers can completely ignore ads if they wish.
Also on tap are discussions regarding two Disney channel offerings, about which the two companies have yet to hammer out the details.
The Fed is taking a closer look at Goldman's activities in the commodities markets, which, except for exemptions like that of JPMorgan, are forbidden territory for banks. However, the commodities businesses of Goldman and Morgan Stanley are grandfathered in, since they were securities firms before they became banks in 2008. Still, the government is pursuing the issue as it tries to reduce the risk big banks pose to the economy.
For its part, JPMorgan announced this past summer that it would be exiting the commodities business, in light of increasing government scrutiny surrounding those activities.
Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Goldman Sachs and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase and Walt Disney. 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.