Stocks zigzagged on Monday as Wall Street digested strong numbers from Chinese industry while still remaining cautious before the Federal Reserve's next big move. Gold and silver staged major rallies on the newfound strength in China's economy, despite disappointing numbers today from nearby Japan. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended slightly lower, with a five-point, or less than 0.1%, loss, closing at 15,419.
Caterpillar was by far the biggest advancer in the index, adding 2.1% on the metals rally. The construction and mining machinery maker is very sensitive to the health of China's economy and the demand for metals and minerals. With the U.S. still in the midst of a gradual recovery, much of the company's growth prospects lie in the future of emerging markets like China, where factor production jumped nearly 10% in July.
Cisco Systems was another major blue-chip gainer, adding 1.1% on Monday. The network communications giant got a boost from a few different analysts today, as Stifel thinks Cisco's earnings projections for the current quarter are too conservative. Shares of Cisco competitor F5 Networks were also upgraded by Barclays today, with the analyst citing increasing demand for security technology. Shareholders will see just how conservative management's expectations were on Wednesday, when Cisco reports quarterly results.
Aerospace giant Boeing lost 1% as the company is suffering indirectly from the U.S. government's spying scandal. The ripple effects of the NSA's secretive surveillance program are straining not only our relations with Russia but with other countries as well -- Brazil included. Boeing was reportedly favored to win a $4 billion fighter jet sale to the Brazilian military, but the South American country is leaning against giving its business to the U.S. company after revelations that the U.S. was collecting data on Brazil's web activity.
Walt Disney slumped for the fourth day in a row, falling 1.2% after the biannual D23 Expo this weekend, which provides a glimpse into the entertainment giant's most exciting projects. Well, maybe not the most exciting projects -- investors were disappointed that nothing from the new Star Wars movies made its way to the convention.
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