Why the Dow Is Falling This Afternoon

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average sunk back into the red in afternoon trading after spending part of the day in positive territory. April's durable goods orders slightly beat expectations, but investors still didn't seem terribly impressed. Claims for jobless benefits were essentially flat from the week prior, while manufacturing and services activity in Europe continued to contract. There was also disappointing news out of China, as data showed that manufacturing in China shrank for the seventh month in a row. Investors will be watching the Chinese government's response after it pledged to initiate a new round of pro-growth policies.

Individually, Caterpillar and Boeing, two stocks with exposure to China, are some of the bigger losers so far on the day. Hewlett-Packard, on the other hand, is the Dow's biggest winner so far after reporting earnings that beat expectations and announcing that it will lay off 8% of its workforce, which investors hoped would provide cost savings and help drive organic growth.

Outside the Dow, Facebook looks on its way to another positive day, after finishing yesterday up over 3%. Still, with a share price now between $32-$33, the social networking giant has a long way to go to get back to its $38 IPO price. Check out the video below for more on what's driving the markets today.


With Facebook surging and crashing day after day, it's fun to pay close attention to the market, but it's also important to not to get too worked up about what happens in the short term. The most successful stock picks are usually great businesses that grow over time. Our analysts have uncovered one such company in our new report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It highlights a company that is revolutionizing commerce in Latin America. You can get instant access to the name of this company by clicking here -- it's absolutely free.

At the time this article was published Brendan Byrnes owns shares of Caterpillar. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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