Dow Swings 198 Points Today

Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average began the day up more than 100 points, the blue-chip index closed the session down 98 points. The big swing came as investors grew more nervous about tensions with Russia, as economic data points to a slowing U.S. economy and high-valuation stocks lose some of their luster.

While the ongoing issue in Ukraine probably won't lead to much more than political talks, the Census Bureau's durable-goods report this morning again indicated that that although the U.S. economy is growing, it is doing so at a snail's pace. The expected orders growth rate of 0.3% last month came in at an just 0.2%. As for the usual highfliers, Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and Tesla all got hammered during the regular trading sessions today.

But there were a few shining stars on this down day. Shares of both DirecTV and DISH Network rose 5.7% and 6.28%, respectively, on rumors that DISH Chairman Charlie Ergen contacted DirecTV CEO Mike White to discuss a merger. Both companies declined to comment, but this isn't the first time the topic has arisen. More than a decade ago the two attempted to merge, but the FCC nixed the deal, saying it would eliminate competition. That may no longer be a concern. A lot has changed within the industry since then, and satellite-radio leaders Sirius and XM Radio were allowed to merge in more recent years.  

Another stock bouncing higher during regular trading hours was GameStop . Shares rose 2.94% as investors awaited the company's earnings report, scheduled for tomorrow before the opening bell. But in the after-hours session, the stock is down nearly the same amount. Analysts expect revenue to come in at $3.79 billion and earnings per share to hit $1.92. While the company may have performed well this past quarter, most investors probably care more about what management has to say about the future, especially now that Wal-Mart, as of today, is back in the used-video-game industry.

Another stock reversing course in the after-hours session is Paychex . Shares fell 1.3% during the regular trading hours but have climbed higher by 3.3% since the closing bell, following the company's earnings release. The payroll processing firm reported revenue of $636.5 million and earnings per share of $0.44, beating Wall Street expectations of $629 million and $0.42. Moving forward, management expects revenue to rise by 5% to 6%, while net income is forecasted to increase by 9% to 10%, up from previous expectations of 8% to 9% growth. Revenue guidance is in line with Wall Street's expectations, while most analysts were expecting EPS to increase by only 8% in 2014.  

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Matt Thalman owns shares of Facebook, Sirius XM Radio, and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool recommends DirecTV, Facebook, Paychex, Tesla Motors, TripAdvisor, and Twitter and owns shares of Facebook, GameStop, Paychex, Sirius XM Radio, and Tesla Motors. 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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