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.
After another strong month in November, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) came into the final month of the year on a sluggish note, falling 30 points as of 10:45 a.m. EST. Most observers pointed to a less-than-spectacular showing on the retail front over the holiday weekend as driving lackluster results, but Wall Street's analysts played a big role in sending 3M (NYSE:MMM) and Travelers (NYSE:TRV) lower even as Nike (NYSE:NKE) rose on rumors of a timeline for a hot new product launch.
3M dropped nearly 3% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the manufacturing conglomerate's stock. 3M has faced struggles for a long time in coming up with new and popular innovations to drive growth, instead resorting to acquisition to boost its revenue and scope of business. Morgan Stanley's downgrade focused on that lack of growth as well as rising valuations and a decline in its buyback as reasons to reduce positions in 3M. As the Dow continues to climb, you can expect similar calls on a number of fronts as Wall Street analysts get pickier about the stocks they recommend.
Travelers dropped 1.4% as Goldman Sachs issued a similarly negative look at the insurance company. Travelers has had an exceptionally strong 2013, particularly in light of its favorable loss experience in a year with relatively few major weather events or other catastrophic losses for the company. The big question for Travelers is where bond rates will head next, as the insurance giant remains exposed to falling bond prices in its investment portfolio.
On the other side of the coin, Nike gained 0.8%. Reports of a new smartwatch release for the athletic-apparel giant in the first half of 2014 helped raise enthusiasm about the stock, even as its valuation remains sky-high as well. With traditional tech giants clamoring to get into the smartwatch space, Nike could well tap the lucrative sports-application market, catering to runners and other athletes seeking a wearable-device solution that can help them train as well as stay in touch and do all the things mobile devices allow them to do.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends 3M and Nike. The Motley Fool owns shares of Nike. 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.