How Coca-Cola Pulled the Dow Back Up Today


After a topsy-turvy session, the Dow Jones Industrials once again proved the resiliency of the bull market by managing to post a small advance of 4 points. The market initially went higher this morning on news that the recovery in the housing market appears to be picking up steam. But later, concerns about the Federal Reserve's meeting, along with news that Cypriot lawmakers voted against a proposed bailout that would have required depositors to pay a substantial tax against their deposits, weighed on U.S. stocks. In the end, that tug-of-war ended in a draw, with the broader market falling about a quarter-percent.

Coca-Cola led the Dow's gainers with 1.5% rise. The company made news today with its mixed opinions of social media, citing a study it did that concluded that buzz from social media doesn't have a short-term sales impact. However, it did note that more broadly, online display ads work nearly as well as traditional television ads. With the No. 1 brand in the world and an extensive social-media presence, Coke is well positioned to draw interesting conclusions about the comparative value of different types of marketing and advertising.

Procter & Gamble also rose, posting a 1.25% gain as the company announced that it would make major capital investments in Africa, with planned and ongoing projects in South Africa and Nigeria. Given that P&G has been under fire lately for dropping the ball on international expansion into promising emerging markets, the consumer-products giant's move underpins the importance that P&G sees in supporting its leadership role around the world.

Outside the Dow, the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN finished unchanged on the day. With the volatility-tracking exchange-traded product having gained 5% yesterday on the news from Cyprus, investors might have expected the climb to continue, especially since the underlying S&P Volatility Index rose another 8% today. Yet the futures that the ETN tracks don't move in exactly the same way that the spot volatility index does, explaining why the returns didn't match up as some might have expected.

Coca-Cola's wide moat has helped provide its shareholders with superior gains in the past, but the company faces some new threats to its continued market dominance. The Motley Fool recently compiled a premium research report containing everything you need to know about Coca-Cola. If you own or are thinking about buying shares in the company, you'll want to click here now and get started!

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter: @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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