Markets Are Mum While the Fed Convenes


July is ending with a whimper, with the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) off a quarter of a percent, with the market holding steady while the Federal Reserve policymakers convene for their two-day meeting to discuss monetary policy. Meanwhile, consumer-goods shares are sputtering after the Commerce Department showed consumer spending did not grow last month. Retail sales in June declined, making it three months in a row, sending companies dependent on luxury discretionary products reeling today.



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Source: Yahoo! Finance as of 3:45 p.m. ET.

Today's earnings created quite a dichotomy in the market, with some major gains and losses from a number of sectors. Cirrus Logic (NAS: CRUS) , builder of mixed-signal integrated circuits and a large Apple supplier, gained 24% today after releasing second-quarter earnings last night. The most intriguing news from Cirrus is the strong guidance the company sees for the second half of the year. Cirrus expects revenues to surge 70% to 90% currently and during the fourth quarter, indicating Apple is planning to release a new product in the third quarter and expecting strong sales during the winter holiday season.

There were also a few winners in the energy sector today. Oil refiner Valero (NYS: VLO) recorded better-than-expected second-quarter earnings today, up 7.25%, with earnings per share of $1.50, up $0.20 year over year. The bigger story is Valero's plan to spin off its retail business, believing this to be the best positioning for both entities going forward.

Cobalt International Energy (NYS: CIE) is up 4.89% after recording a $141 million loss for the second quarter. However, the company explained that drilling in Angola could be better than planned, boosting investor enthusiasm for the company as production is still years away.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average will close out July and take close to a 1.3% gain with it. Moreover, the Dow offers solid dividend-paying stocks that nicely supplement the capital gains it slowly earns. For this reason we have selected three of the best Dow dividend stocks that have storied traditions and outstanding balance sheets. Check out this free report to gain immediate insight into 3 Dividend Stocks Investors Need. Don't miss out on this great opportunity.

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