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Chevron Rises Despite the Dow's Struggles

By Dan Carroll – Mar 12, 2014 at 8:30AM

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It's been a down day for stocks despite gains from Chevron and AT&T on the Dow

Investors nearly had a market rout on their hands after stocks slumped in a big way to start the day, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.41%) and other indices rebounded in the late morning and early afternoon sessions. Still, the blue-chip index was down 31 points as of 2:30 p.m. EDT. The Dow's stocks are having a quiet affair for the most part, with index lleader Chevron (CVX 1.00%) up 1% so far. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Chevron's future in flux
Chevron's stock has slid more than 3% over the past year and failed to capitalize at all on the market's big rally in 2013. Part of that has been due to production slowing in the oil industry, but Chevron sees better days ahead. The oil giant said yesterday it expects growth to pick up in coming years as international energy demand increases. Furthermore, Chevron figures that its commitment to cutting back on capital spending and its planned sale of $10 billion in assets in future years also offer a route to lighting a fire under its sluggish stock.

That stock has managed to overcome some downbeat follow-up news today, as Chevron slashed its production expectations for 2017 by 6.1%. The company does see prices increasing, expecting Brent crude to average about $110 in the future, a big jump on the $79 price assumption the company penned this time last year.

Elsewhere on the Dow, telecom giant AT&T (T 0.81%) has managed to gain 0.2% despite some ominous news of its own for investors.Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said today that AT&T aims to focus back on the United States, specifically due to a lack of opportunities in Europe. Stephens said that Europe's "window of opportunity" in picking up LTE assets could be growing small, and that the future would see AT&T focusing on upgrading its wireless and wireline networks. AT&T is s still America's second-largest wireless provider behind rival Verizon (VZ 0.78%), but with Verizon performing well lately and making waves in its recent completion of the purchase of Vodafone's segment of Verizon Wireless, AT&T needs to find a way to close the gap with its most prominent competitor in the U.S.

Outside of the Dow, one of the market's biggest large-cap movers today is medical device leader Boston Scientific (BSX 0.58%), which has lost 2.4% despite rallying more than 70% over the past year. Investors have jumped on Boston Scientific's bandwagon as the company has touted innovative new steps forward in markets such as renal denervation, but the company's largest businesses in cardiology still haven't turned the corner from their recent slumps. Boston Scientific's interventional cardiology and cardiac rhythm management businesses, its two largest by sales, have seen revenue fall in each of the past two years. With competition intense in this area, it's questionable whether the company will be able to spark growth in these fields anytime soon. Tread carefully around this stock's big run-up.


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