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.
Wall Street, for some time now, has been expecting Janet Yellen as the next leader of the Federal Reserve. President Obama's nominee, seen as accommodative to the continuation of loose-money policies, was OK'd by the Senate Banking Committee today, clearing the way for the current Fed vice chair to officially be voted in by Congress just after Thanksgiving. With today's approval, Yellen advances past the penultimate hurdle in her journey to become the central bank's first female leader. The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) cheered the news today, tacking on 14 points, or 0.8%, to finish at 1,795.
Shares of nerd paradise GameStop (NYSE:GME) slumped 6.9% on Thursday following the company's fourth-quarter projections, which were so emphatically uncool that even some Spyro-obsessed shareholders sold stock in the company. GameStop's third-quarter was great, beating the jocks of Wall Street and their pesky estimates for profit and revenue. The fourth quarter, however, is not only any retailer's favorite time of year but a landmark one for companies like GameStop. With a new generation of video game consoles set to debut, Wall Street had big expectations for the company, and GameStop failed to match those bullish expectations with its own projections today.
Philip Morris (NYSE:PM), the $138 billion tobacco giant whose shares aren't often subjected to wild price swings, fell 3%. But for investors thinking the company's addictive product, widespread use, and 4.1% annual dividend will continuously breathe new life into shares, I have a general warning for you: All stocks are risky. The Marlboro Red-smoking Grand Theft Auto player who decided to put his money where his mouth is couldn't have been too pleased today when both GameStop and Philip Morris plummeted on weak outlooks. Philip Morris, which owns its namesake brand as well as the Marlboro, Parliament, and Virginia Slims rights, tumbled for a second straight day after Goldman Sachs downgraded the shares to a neutral rating.
Finally, coal and ore producer Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) dropped 2.9% after it announced the closure of a $3.3 billion project in Ontario. The company in total is currently worth $4 billion. It has sunk quite a hunk of money -- more than $500 million in total -- into the land in the so-called "Ring of Fire" region of our northern neighbor. Like the move toward Janet Yellen's confirmation Thursday, today's latest from Cliffs Natural Resources in regards to this particular chromite project were mostly expected by the market. But with Wall Street frequently failing to separate emotions from rational decision making, we quite often find that companies and even entire markets rise or fall on the confirmation of something most investors already knew.