Poor GDP Number Could Mean More Days of Free Money

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The big news on Wall Street today is that the Department of Commerce's final reading of first-quarter GDP was released, and it was revised downward from 2.4% to 1.8%, the markets are moving higher. As of 12:45 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 107 points, or 0.73%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have risen by 0.75% and 0.76%, respectively. Every component of the GDP report was lowered from the previous estimate except housing and government spending, which is not a good sign.

But I believe the markets may be celebrating this because investors see the lower-than-expected GDP number as a reason for the Federal Reserve to continue stimulating the economy for longer than they had previously expected. Ben Bernanke made it clear last week that he would begin slowing the central bank's bond-buying program if the economy kept moving down its current path. However, today's report clearly shows that the U.S. economy is not as strong as we had previously been told, so the free-money policies may last longer than even the Fed's chairman told us it would.

While the broader market is partying, let's look at a few stocks on America's premier blue-chip index whose invitations got lost in the mail.


A few Dow losers
Shares of Alcoa rank at the bottom of the Dow today, down 1.8%. Fool contributor Caroline Bennett recently pointed out three reasons to stay away from the aluminum giant despite its market-leading status. With that said, China's government has recently cracked down on easy money and credit, which have caused bubbles in the country. Reports also indicate that the new government will address the oversupply of steel and other metals in the country by shutting down some of the mills that have sprouted up like weeds all over the nation. If the Chinese government slows its own country's production rates, that should help Alcoa as the price of aluminum stabilizes.  

Other commodity-driven Dow stocks are also declining today. Shares of Caterpillar have fallen 0.3% as the prices of gold, silver, copper, and platinum drop. The company needs metals prices to perform well so that emerging markets, which are big commodity-producers, will continue to buy earth-moving equipment and machinery.

Both Chevron and ExxonMobil are down slightly today, having lost 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively. As with Alcoa, the price of the oil supermajors' main commodity is slipping today. Light crude is down slightly, while unleaded gas has fallen 1%. Heating oil has even declined by nearly 1%, while the only major fuel source that has risen today is natural gas, up 0.66%. The lower-than-expected U.S. GDP number and the fear that China is slowing down are likely weighing on both the price of oil and the Dow's two major oil companies. 

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The article Poor GDP Number Could Mean More Days of Free Money originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513The Motley Fool recommends Chevron. 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 Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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