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Yellen Speaks, Cisco Falls, and Chevron Jumps Higher

By Matt Thalman - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:00PM

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Major indexes push higher as Fed chair speaks.

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.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen is testifying before a congressional committee today about her policies and what the central bank plans to do to help improve the economy and the jobs market. In a brief summary, Yellen told lawmakers she will continue with the policies started during Ben Bernanke's tenure as chairman. Yellen said she sees cyclical issues still present within the economy, and thus additional stimulus is needed.  

While it does not seem all committee members are completely satisfied with Yellen's answers, the markets certainly are liking what they are hearing as. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.50%) is up 172 points, or 1.09%, as of 1 p.m EST, while the S&P 500 is higher by 0.92% and the Nasdaq has risen 0.88%.

All 30 Dow components except one, Cisco (CSCO -0.23%), are higher at this time. Cisco's decline of 0.13% comes as the company is set to release earnings tomorrow, and both analysts and investors seem to be getting nervous about what the company may report. This morning Sterne Agee maintained its buy rating on the stock with a $25 price target, but noted that shares should have a floor at $21 based on future earnings. To me the report reads as a big hedge against what may happen tomorrow. The analyst truly seems to have no clue where the stock may go and how the earnings release will affect shares, but I believe that is a good thing. All too often we read analysts' reports that seem to be filled with conviction about stock movements and no possibility of error. The problem is, analysts are wrong all the time. Telling me that you like a stock long term, but in the meantime shares may fall, but you honestly are not sure, is honest. Investors need to remember that analysts are not gods; they don't know the future, so don't take their word for it, do your own research and come up with your own opinions.

One big winner within the Dow is Chevron (CVX 0.83%), as shares are higher by 1.6% despite reports that the company is dealing with a well fire in Pennsylvania. One person has been hospitalized while another was missing as of noon. With the rapid increase of fracking in the U.S. one can only hope the problem was user error and not something caused by the process of removing oil and gas from the earth, which could lead to much large problems for Chevron and the whole industry.  

Outside the Dow, shares of retailer J.C. Penney (JCPN.Q) are up 4.9%. The move comes with little news today, but management recently released holiday sales figures showing revenue rose 3.1% during November and December. This indicates that consumers are slowing coming back to the embattled department store chain, but some feel that customers are not coming back fast enough. Today's move higher may not be the best time to jump on the J.C. Penney bandwagon, as the company has a long road still ahead.  

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Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron and Cisco Systems. 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.

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Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$33,980.32 (-0.50%) $-171.69
Cisco Systems, Inc. Stock Quote
Cisco Systems, Inc.
$46.66 (-0.23%) $0.11
Chevron Corporation Stock Quote
Chevron Corporation
$157.70 (0.83%) $1.29
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Stock Quote
J. C. Penney Company, Inc.

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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