The Day In The Dow -- Who Won, Who Lost

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Sometimes even the most-seasoned investors have a hard time making sense of the daily movements of the market.  With so many storylines driving investor psychology, we often find ourselves scratching our heads when trying to get a handle on why the markets moved the way they did. In an effort to clear things up, let's take a quick look in the main storylines affecting the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) during the day today.

What You Need To Know

  • The Dow rallied today, with some markets ending the day at their highest levels in the last six months.  During the day, two Dow components, both financial companies, announced their quarterly earnings, which included the likes of Bank of America (NYS: BAC) , American Express (NYS: AXP) , and Morgan Stanley, although the last isn't a Dow component.  Clearly this drove much of the momentum of the day today, with all three companies releasing encouraging results.
  • On a more macro view, inflation also stayed flat during December.  The Producer Price Index actually declined by 0.1% in the month.  Declining food and energy costs largely drove the decline.
  • U.S. jobless claims also fell to their lowest point in nearly four years, keeping the macroeconomic good vibrations going.  Weekly applications fell by 50,000, which is also the largest seasonally adjusted decline in more than six years.

Looking Forward
A slew of the biggest names in technology reported their quarterly earnings after the close of markets today as well and figure to have a impact on tomorrow's movement -- specifically, component members Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) , IBM (NYS: IBM) , and semiconductor stalwart Intel (NAS: INTC) along with search stud Google.  Both Intel and IBM saw their profits rise, while Microsoft and Google saw less-impressive earnings.

Foolish Bottom Line
Here at The Fool we're all about investing for the long-term.  Smart investors need to stay informed about each day's actions, but keep in mind a fine line exists between investing and trading.  Even the best businesses encounter the occasional headwinds.  Those who win over the long term realize this, and ride out those bumps to a sunny retirement.  Stay informed, but also stay rational.  If something moves unexpectedly, take a step back and assess what it really means.  Day-to-day swings come and go.  Always keep that in mind when thinking about the market.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributor Andrew Tonner holds no financial position in any of the companies mentioned in this article.  The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel, Bank of America, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, International Business Machines, and Google.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google, and Intel; creating a bull call spread position in Intel and Microsoft; and creating a write covered strangle position in American Express. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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