The Dow's Calm Before Tomorrow's Storm


The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is stagnant today, up a slight 0.25% as investors are on the sidelines waiting for the next round of news from overseas. Tomorrow the European Central Bank meets to discuss potentially dropping interest rates as well as plans to fund bailouts, particularly Spain's banking sector, which is losing access to capital markets due to the increased risk premium investors need in order to invest in the bonds.

The United States non-manufacturing sector slightly beat out estimates, according to today's Institute for Supply Management report, rising a paltry 0.2 point to move up to 53.7 in May. However, after last week's dismal jobs report, any type of growth is encouraging.

Dow component Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) is up 1.10% today as the company announced a joint venture with Westport Innovations (NAS: WPRT) to develop natural gas engines for the heavy machinery giant. Although the terms of the deal have not been announced, Westport could significantly increase its market through this venture. At present, the company relies on its arrangement with Cummins for 75% of its revenue.

Financials were discounted heavily in May as volatility increased due to negative eurozone news. With international issues taking a back seat today, the S&P VIX (a measure of volatility in the market) decreased by 4.71%. Without eurozone distractions, Bank of America (NYS: BAC) and JPMorgan Chase's share prices increased by 2.75% and 3.06%, respectively.

Outside of the Dow, Starbucks (NAS: SBUX) struck a deal to acquire Bay Bread for $100 million. This move, although relatively insignificant, is new for the coffee giant because the company is known for expanding organically; this deal is the largest acquisition in the company's history.

As news reaches the markets after tomorrow's ECB meeting, market activity is sure to pick up. The European banking community will discuss bailout plans to increase liquidity in Spain's banking sector, as well as a framework detailing the courses of action to keep Europe from burning. With increased instability expected in the market, it's a great time to check out The Motley Fool's special report: "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich." This free report will list three remarkable companies as well as offer great advice on how to invest to secure a comfortable retirement. Get your free report now.

At the time thisarticle was published Joel South owns shares of no company listed above. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase, Starbucks, Westport Innovations, and Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Westport Innovations, Cummins, and Starbucks, as well as writing covered calls on Starbucks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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