The Dow Jones Industrials (^DJI 0.23%) fell five straight days last week, with the prospect of the secession referendum in Crimea potentially becoming a powder keg in the region. In particular, four Dow stocks looked like potentially big movers if more severe problems arose after the referendum. Yet news of relatively orderly voting helped send the Dow up by 163 points as of noon EDT. Let's at how the four Dow stocks I highlighted on Saturday are reacting to the optimistic news today.
Boeing (BA 0.89%) jumped 1.7%, with the aerospace giant facing plenty of other issues beyond the potential impact of the Crimean situation on its business. With Western nations contemplating their response to the vote, Boeing could still see greater defense spending in the long run resulting from the tension in the Black Sea region. Yet the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues to get far more attention, as authorities consider the need for a more extensive communications grid and measures to avoid allowing aircraft like the Boeing 777 from evading detection even with deliberate acts from pilots onboard the plane.
ExxonMobil (XOM -1.13%) rose 0.6% despite the dual threat of economic sanctions against Russia and a decline in crude-oil prices to $98.25 per barrel this morning. Given the result of the Crimea vote, the likelihood of sanctions that could adversely affect the oil giant's partnership with Russia's Rosneft is higher than it was last week. Yet investors still hope that Exxon's massive investment in the nation will bear fruit in the long run, even if sanctions force delays. Equally important to Exxon's success is making sure that geopolitical issues don't disrupt the global economy enough to cause substantial drops in energy use, which could send oil prices plunging and produce real long-term problems for the company.
On the financial front, Goldman Sachs (GS 0.38%) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM -0.27%) were up 1% and 0.8%, respectively, as the benign activity in the Crimean region forestalled any deeper economic crisis in the region. As long as the conflict doesn't escalate into outright military action, most investors seem to think the impact on the global economy will be relatively muted even with sanctions against Russia. Moreover, both Goldman and JPMorgan are quite familiar with taking steps to protect themselves from volatile situations, given the ability to hedge against further trouble while still capitalizing on longer-term growth efforts. If they can help clients make money from the situation, Goldman and JPMorgan will preserve their reputations and should hang onto their gains.
At this point, it's still too early to guess what will happen in Crimea's future. For now, though, the Dow has evaded what could have been an explosive situation.