The Dow Fails to Find Traction

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After spending most of the year calmly heading up, the market has seen a serious retracement these past five trading sessions. The bears have come out to play thanks to lowered expectations for an additional Federal Reserve-based stimulus combined with a jobs report that came in well beneath estimates. If things go south in a hurry, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke could be motivated to step in, making another round of quantitative easing necessary, despite reluctance from institution.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at how the major indexes are faring so far today and drill down on a few stocks caught up in today's action.

Index

Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Intraday Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) (75.23)(0.58%)12,854.36
Nasdaq(16.12)(0.53%)3,030.96
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) (8.28)(0.60%)1,373.92

Source: Yahoo! Finance.


Dow component Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) is bucking the trend, up nearly 2% in early trading on news that it will be launching a new "converged cloud" product that lets users switch between public, private, and managed cloud services. This hybrid suite is setting its sights on Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) , whose public cloud options are defining the $60 billion market. Whether this is a classic case of HP being late to the party -- again -- or CEO Meg Whitman's first chance to successfully reposition the flailing tech giant remains to be seen. Investors are probably better off giving up some gains to confirm this initiative has traction before going long on one of the Dow's worst performers.

Speaking of performance, it is almost time for earnings season. As usual, Alcoa (NYS: AA) raises the curtain first, reporting after the market closes this evening. While one company doesn't make a season, the massive aluminum producer has its hand firmly on the pulse of the global economy. Shares are down 2% and estimates are anywhere from a $0.07 per share gain to a $0.12 per share loss. A strong showing including positive guidance could snap the markets out of their current funk.

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At the time this article was published David Williamson holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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