These Stocks Kept the Dow Under 13,000

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The S&P 500 set a new multiyear record today, finally joining its market index peers in reaching its best level since mid-2008. But after spending much of the day over 13,000, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) couldn't keep up the pace, eventually closing down just 2 points to 12,983.

Let's take a look at three stocks that helped pull the Dow down today.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), down 1.8%
The mortgage market remains front-and-center on Wall Street, as B of A recently announced that it would stop selling new home loans to Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprise that many blame as having helped fuel the mortgage meltdown. Reports suggested that the move was in response to a dispute over how many bad mortgages Fannie Mae wanted B of A to buy back.

B of A has also decided to freeze its pension plans in favor of making 401(k) contributions for workers. With its decision, B of A joins a number of companies seeking to limit pension liability at a time when many pension plans are underfunded. The news may be bad for workers, but investors have to be pleased that the company is taking steps to shore up its long-term finances.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), down 1.5%
HP makes its second straight appearance in this list after dropping more than 6% yesterday. The company is still reeling from concerns raised in its quarterly earnings report and conference call yesterday.

Today, salesforce.com provided some counterpoint to HP's woes. Salesforce soared 9% after announcing a 38% jump in sales last night, and the stock earned an analyst upgrade. The move simply reinforces the idea that IT services and software have better prospects than hardware right now, especially with such rapid advances in technology and changes in how people use it. Until HP can grab onto that trend, it may continue to languish.

DuPont (NYSE: DD), down 0.9%
DuPont is best known as a chemical company, but a recent push toward a bigger presence in the solar industry could be hurting shares.

Earlier this month, the company announced an agreement with Yingli Green Energy (NYS: YGE) to provide photovoltaic materials that go into solar modules. Yet this week, solar stocks got hit hard when Germany cut back on its tariff rates, raising the question about whether large solar projects will remain commercially viable. If DuPont expands its presence in solar, it needs to be prepared for the volatility that sector brings.

Wait 'til next week
If you're not happy about the Dow's declines today, see if you can find stocks that will perform better. In particular, take a look at one stock poised to crush the market in the Fool's free report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." Instant access is just a click away.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorDan Caplingerdoesn't own shares of any company mentioned. You can follow him on Twitterhere. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Salesforce, while another Fool service recommends shorting Salesforce. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Fool has adisclosure policy.

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