Why the Dow Plunged This Morning

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Record-breaking earnings from Apple weren't enough to stem a tide of red ink this morning, as fallout from the State of the Union address as well as anxiety about the Federal Reserve's interest rate forecasts cast a shadow on the broader stock market. At around 10:15 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) were down 78 points to 12,597, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) fell 4 points to 1,311.

Defense stocks took a hard hit despite posting earnings that beat estimates. Boeing (NYS: BA) was the biggest loser in the Dow, falling almost 3% even as it announced an $11.4 billion order for 100 of its 737 MAX aircraft and 22 Next-Generation 737-800s from Norwegian Air Shuttle. Meanwhile, United Technologies (NYS: UTX) also saw its shares drop more than 2% even after posting an 11% jump in fourth-quarter profits on a revenue increase of 1%. Both stocks are clearly suffering from the Obama administration's plans to cut military spending.

Bucking the downtrend was American Express (NYS: AXP) , which rose almost 1%. Even as fellow Dow financial stocks dropped in light of a downgrade of Goldman Sachs, AmEx seems to be recovering from concerns last week that falling credit quality could hamper its results in the near term.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter here. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing a covered strangle position in American Express. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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