Dow Drops on Warning From President

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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.

Stocks edged higher on Tuesday, the first full day of the government shutdown. Today, President Obama told Wall Street directly that it should be more concerned, given the dynamics of Congress at the moment, about how constant political infighting will affect the economy. Giving up most of its gains from yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 58 points, or 0.4%, to end at 15,133. 

Microsoft shares rose 1% on reports that a handful of powerful shareholders may be trying to strong-arm Bill Gates from his position as chairman of the board. With Steve Ballmer's looming exit as the company's CEO, shareholders seem to really believe a new-look Microsoft could usher in a more innovative era for the company.

General Electric is breaking new ground of its own, after securing a $600 million equipment contract for a liquefied natural gas, or LNG, project in the Russian Arctic. It's the first Russian LNG deal GE has been a part of, and the good news sent GE's stock up 0.7%. 

American Express lost 1.8% as a continued crackdown against high-interest credit cards and fee collection gained further attention. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau vowed to push banks and credit card companies harder by restricting certain marketing strategy and reexamining fee limits.

Finally, United Technologies stock is feeling a direct hit from the temporary government shutdown, losing 2.2% after Defense Department inspectors stopped inspecting the production of Black Hawk helicopters. It's a nightmare for United Technologies, because work can't proceed without inspectors present. 

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The shutdown is taking center stage on Capitol Hill right now, the debt ceiling is the next topic of debate. The U.S. government has piled on more than $10 trillion of new debt since 2000. Annual deficits topped $1 trillion after the financial crisis. Millions of Americans have asked: What the heck is going on?

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Fool contributor John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned.  You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine . The Motley Fool recommends American Express and owns shares of General Electric and Microsoft. 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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