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 is day 10 of the government shutdown, and we're just seven days away until the debt ceiling is hit -- but you'd never guess it based on how the markets are acting. As of 12:45 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is up 230 points, or 1.56%, while the broader S&P 500 is up 1.7% and the NASDAQ has gained 1.92%.
It's not that politicians in Washington have come to an agreement, mind you, but simply that the White House and top House Republicans are meeting to talk about the problems today. To make matters even worse, last week's jobless-claims report came out this morning, showing that the number of claims rose 21.4% to 374,000, much higher than the previous week's 308,000. (Note: last week's claims are likely inflated because of the shutdown.) But all this tells the average investor that more often than we'd like to believe, the markets behave irrationally -- and the little guy can still have an edge on Wall Street.
With the Dow soaring, it's hard to believe that any of its 30 components are in the red today, and yet three are raining on investors' parade. Let's take a look at two of them and why they're missing the rally.
Chevron (NYSE: CVX) is down 0.6% after the company warned last night that third-quarter earnings are expected to fall below second-quarter profits. The company said part of the reason for the lower profit was foreign-exchange rates during the quarter.
These currency-exchange rates are affecting the whole industry, thus shares of ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) are also slightly lower today, down 0.1% as investors weigh the impact Chevron's problem may have had on Exxon during the quarter. Regardless of how much of an impact this will ultimately have on both companies, investors need to remember that in general terms, both organizations are still healthy and performing well. Exchange rates occasionally hurt multinationals but don't change their business models or the public demand for their products.
Outside the Dow we have ex-Dow component Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), which is down 1.9% today after a report from Gartner indicated that global PC shipments decline 8.6% in the third quarter of 2013 when compared to Q3 2012. But while worldwide shipments fell, H-P's actually rose 1.5%, and its market share increased to 17.1% from 15.7% the same time frame last year. So this can be seen as both good and bad news; while HP got a larger piece of the pie, the pie itself is much smaller.
Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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 Chevron. 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.