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 finishing last week with a bang, as the major indexes all moved higher on Friday and managed to close the week in the black, the stock market is seeing a slight reversal today. As of 1 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.20%) is down 20 points, or 0.13% and the S&P 500 is off by 0.05%, while the Nasdaq is actually higher by 0.28%. With no major economic reports released this morning, the moves are likely the result of earnings reports still rolling in and investors looking toward the future.
Within the Dow, we have a number of big movers and shakers today. Two of the top performers are Walt Disney (DIS -0.16%) and American Express (AXP 0.52%), which are up 1.6% and 1.3% respectively. Disney's move higher comes on little news other than another great example of the company's strength. This past weekend Warner Bros.' The Lego Movie brought in $69 million in its first weekend of domestic release. While that is the second highest opening weekend of all time in February, it is far below the $110 million Disney's Frozen collected on its first weekend. Ths is just a great example of Disney's business strength, and that's not even mentioning the company's ability to turn those movie viewers into consumers in other segments after the film is over.
Meanwhile, American Express received an upgrade from Morgan Stanley this morning. The rating change from equal weight to overweight and the new 12-month price target of $100 per share has given investors the confidence to push the price higher today. The main reason given for the increase was AmEx's OptBlue program which Morgan Stanley feels will drive growth over the next few quarters.
Two of the big Dow losers today are Caterpillar (CAT 0.31%) and ExxonMobil (XOM -0.38%), as shares are both down about 1%. With the economic slowdown in emerging markets and places like China, investors are growing increasingly concerned about the need for big machinery and infrastructure building equipment, which is certainly one reason Caterpillar is falling again today and has lagged the market by more than 19% over the last 52-weeks.
The same could be said for ExxonMobil. Slowing economies mean demand for oil and gas is slowing, and getting to those energy resources is also becoming more expensive. We saw costs rise for all the major oil and gas players this past quarter, and that is not something likely to decline in the near future.
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