Why the Dow Took a Beating Today

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What a difference a day makes. After the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) jumped 125 points, or 1%, yesterday on positive news out of Greece and Europe, the Dow dropped more than 160 points today mainly because of -- wait for it -- negative news out of Europe. The bipolar market continues to move on a whim as investors digest every nugget of information out of the troubled continent.

Investors were concerned today with the health of Spanish banks -- in particular the country's third largest lender, Bankia, which is in need of a bailout. There were also renewed concerns about Greece's ability to remain in the eurozone. At home, investors were disappointed with a report that showed pending U.S. home sales declined.

Here's how all three of the major U.S. indices fared on the day:

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average-160.83 [-1.28%]12,419.86
Nasdaq-33.63 [-1.17%]2,837.36
S&P 500-19.10 [-1.43%]1,313.31

As for individual stocks, a whopping 29 of the 30 Dow components finished in the red. Alcoa (NYS: AA) was the biggest loser today, dropping 3.5%, while construction-equipment giant Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) fell 2.5%. The companies are two of the most exposed to the global economy, so today's negative news from Europe was certainly a big catalyst pulling the stocks down. Caterpillar is also dealing with a strike at its Joliet, Ill., plant. The monthlong strike is showing no signs of abating as workers voted today to reject the company's latest contract offer.

Bank of America (NYS: BAC) was another loser today, dropping 3.1%. The company was dragged down by Europe's bank worries, though Bank of America is still the year's best Dow performer, up nearly 30% year to date.

Outside the Dow, Facebook (NYS: FB) fell again, dropping 2.3% on the day. Options trading began for Facebook's stock yesterday, and most investors are still betting that the company's stock slide will continue. Facebook investors also continue to digest reports that the company is looking into a potential takeover of Norway-based Opera Software, which could help Facebook monetize its huge mobile traffic.

Facebook continues to face some serious questions about its long-term prospects. Chief among them are the fact that the Internet advertising-based business model is a difficult one, and that the company has proved unable to make money off its significant mobile traffic. That's why we've created a new report, "Forget Facebook -- Here's the Tech IPO You Should Be Buying," which details a much better social-media stock that has a longer runway for growth than Facebook. The report won't be available forever, so get access today -- it's totally free.

At the time this article was published Brendan Byrnes owns shares of Caterpillar. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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