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.
Stocks have fluctuated all over the map today as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) fights to stay in the green. So far it's been a winning effort, with the blue-chip index gaining more than 40 points as of 2:30 p.m. EST despite some downbeat economic data. The Dow Jones's 30 member stocks have split evenly between risers and losers so far. Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) had a hard time today, falling to the bottom of the pack by shedding about 0.7%. Let's catch up on all the Dow action.
Confidence drags for consumers
The Conference Board kicked off the morning in sour fashion by announcing that American consumer confidence fell from 71.2 in October to 70.4 in November. That missed economist projections and marks a concern heading into the most lucrative consumer season. Retail hasn't had the best year in 2013 so far, and any challenge to holiday-season sales could slam major retail giants like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), which has hung relatively flat among stocks today.
Wal-Mart hasn't performed among the Dow's best stocks so far this year. Through 2013, it's in the bottom third of the index's performers, with gains of roughly 20% -- a strong showing to be sure, but given the median year-to-date gains of around 31% for the Dow's stocks, it's a mixed note for investors.
Wal-Mart made news again this week by naming Wal-Mart International head Doug McMillon as its new CEO. He will take over on Feb. 1 from CEO Mike Duke, who will remain chairman of the board's executive committee. Many analysts consider him a leader who won't shake the status quo, keeping Wal-Mart on track on its place as a dominant retailer.
Intel's dropping as it reportedly looks to sell its OnCue online TV streaming business for $500 million. Intel developed OnCue to push into Web TV, but after failing to gain much content and delaying the service, it's looking to sell it to a strong suitor.
A $500 million deal would allow Intel to recoup the cost of developing OnCue, and the company hopes to supply its chips to the buyer. However, it's another failed project for Intel, which desperately needs to diversify away from the lagging PC market and into new, faster-growing ground. If Intel can't make a serious push into mobile or elsewhere, it'll be stuck falling behind faster-growing peers in this highly competitive industry.