Markets are still dour today, as the federal government shutdown persists amid rising concerns about the debt ceiling, and the fact that there has been no movement toward a resolution on either issue. Some Republican lawmakers have been quoted as saying that breaching the debt ceiling would not have deleterious effects on the economy -- which doesn't seem to indicate a sense of urgency in Washington to get the job done.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), which has been sulky all day, took a dive about an hour before noon, but some components are shaking off the doldrums.
Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) is a rising star today, as the company's annual meeting in Cincinnati kicks off. CEO A. G. Lafley has been filling investors' ears with sweet somethings, noting that even though P&G has met or exceeded its goals so far, it can do even better. Lafley also introduced some new performance metrics, such as "value creation" for both consumers and stockholders. Investors are loving it, and P&G is up 1.4% by noon.
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is also up more than 1.7% so far today. No doubt the big retailer is still glowing from its announced iPhone 5c price cut to $45, but a tasty deal with partner Krispy Kreme could also be giving the company a boost. The doughnut purveyor will soon be selling its own brand of ground coffee at select Sam's Club locations, which could be a boon for both Sam's Club parent Wal-Mart and Krispy Kreme.
AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) go ex-dividend today, and both have dropped lower than might be expected from respective payouts of $0.45 per share and $0.53 per share. Things may pick up as the day wears on, though. AT&T announced today that it plans to release a voice-over-LTE smartphone by year's end and expand upon that project next year. Meanwhile, Verizon reported earlier this morning that it has activated a new 4G LTE network in Watertown, N.Y. As lunchtime approached, there was a small improvement in these stocks, but the overall climate on the Dow is glum, at best.
Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Procter & Gamble. 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.
More from The Motley Fool
Does a Strong Start Make 2018 a Sure Winner for Stocks?
Find out whether the so-called "January effect" is real.
Meet the 2018 Dogs of the Dow
Learn the basics of this simple dividend-investing strategy.
The Dow's Worst Day in 2017
Even with big gains, there were some scary times for the average.