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General Motors Company (GM), Ford Motor Company (F), Intel Corporation (INTC): Dow Rises Following Beige Book and Auto Sales

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Although we don’t believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes — just in case they’re material to our investing thesis.

Today the Federal Reserve published its monthly Beige Book, and market watchers were paying more attention than normal. This time around, investors were looking at how the Fed was interpreting the economic data from around the nation. In summary, the Fed suggests that national economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from early July through late August. Consumer spending rose in most districts, reflecting strength in automobile sales and housing-related goods.

That has kept the market trading steady as long-term investors become more comfortable with the economy but short-term traders worry that the Fed will begin to wind down its bond-buying program. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 108 points as of 2:45 P.M. EDT. Here are the details on the movers and shakers in the market today.

Starting outside the Dow, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) are up 4.8% and 3.9%, respectively, after reporting stronger-than-expected sales in August. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s sales figures were the most impressive, with each brand under its company umbrella reporting double-digit sales gains in August. Cadillac was up 38%, Buick was up 37%, GMC was up 14%, and Chevrolet grew 10%. Altogether, that led to a companywide increase of nearly 15% to more than 275,000 units sold — the most units sold in the U.S. by any automaker.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) also had an impressive month — its best in seven years, in fact. That said, the biggest takeaway from America’s two largest automakers was the continued sales performance in the full-size pickup segment, which is the most profitable segment by a long shot. Ford’s F-Series remains the best-selling truck for the 36th straight year, and its sales topped 70,000 for the second time this year — a huge accomplishment, considering Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has said anything above 50,000 is a great month.

Graph by author. Information credit: Ford.

Sales of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s Silverado and Sierra cooled off from a hot July and posted respective increases of 13.9% and 24.3% increase in August versus last year. This segment drives the majority of profits for General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and looks to contribute to a strong third-quarter earnings report. Management also said they believed sales at this level could be sustainable in current economic conditions, which is great news for automotive investors.

Inside the Dow, the biggest gainer is tech giant Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), up 2.7%. Intel unveiled new chips that are aimed at data centers and the cloud-computing market. Its low-power Atom C2000 chip will enable Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) to expand into new growth markets such as cold storage and entry-level networking. Intel is currently the largest semiconductor company in the world, and it continues to pour a lot of resources into research and development to maintain its already strong competitive advantage. That has some investors optimistic that it can remain a viable investment even amid the drastic decline in the PC market.

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