The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was trading 44 points higher, or 0.27%, despite headlines across the Internet shouting that U.S. gross domestic product for the first quarter was revised to a contraction of 1%. That's the first time national GDP had contracted since the first quarter of 2011.
Cue mass panic and sell, sell, sell!
Or, rather, take a deep breath and realize that nothing has really changed since yesterday, or the month before, and the economy is still projected to post slow and steady growth. In fact, the report wasn't all that bad, and the majority of the decline occurred because companies took on less inventory -- which will likely reverse in the second quarter.
David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff and Associates, agreed in his note to clients. "The economy is in the process of reaccelerating," said Rosenberg. Bloomberg reported that he said the firm's model of the economy "suggests near-0% odds of recession for the coming year."
With the markets essentially shrugging off the GDP contraction, let's tlook at some specific companies making news today.
Outside the Dow, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) investors are probably asking themselves if they are glass half full or glass half empty type of people. According to The Wall Street Journal, top officials from eight states along the U.S. coasts are putting together a plan aimed at generating sales of 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025. Additional details are expected at some point today on the plan, which would use a combination of consumer incentives and regulatory action to spur electric-vehicle sales.
At first glance this certainly seems like great news for Tesla investors, as the young automaker has proven to be a step ahead of all electric competition with its groundbreaking Model S. However, if you're a glass half empty type of person, this news also means there's more incentive for giant global automakers to pour additional research and development funding into electric vehicles.
If you're a Tesla investor, this news should seem positive rather than negative. CEO Elon Musk has welcomed competition to speed up the electric-vehicle adoption process; until competition proves it can produce a vehicle even close to the quality and performance of a Model S, Tesla will continue to have an advantage in the EV market.
Inside the Dow, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, last week reported a sales decline for the three months through April compared to the same time frame a year earlier. Global sales fell 13% overall, led by a 70% decline in its Asia-Pacific region and a 68% drop in Latin America. The large decline in Asia is due to mining, where companies have significantly cut spending amid lower commodity prices. However, some good news came recently from Deutsche Bank.
According to an analysis from the bank, reported by Barron's, multiple leading indicators pointed to a stabilizing mining equipment, including: "1) equipment destocking at mines is 75-80% over and is expected to be completed by year end and excess capacity for Caterpillar is 10-15%"
This confirms what many have said for some time: 2014 wasn't going to be much of an improvement from a dismal 2013 mining performance, but business should begin rebounding in 2015. Caterpillar's share price has risen roughly 13.5% year to date, outpacing the S&P 500's 3.5% gain, suggesting that some investors have already bought in before the predicted business rebound next year.