Why the Dow Stumbled for a 5th Straight Day

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

At the ring of the closing bell Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average logged a fifth straight day of losses. While such a streak may sound inarguably ominous, today's fall is more misleading than fear-inducing. That's because 70% of all U.S. stocks actually gained ground today; in other words, the 30-stock, price-weighted index failed to really capture the mood of Wall Street. Barely ending in the red, the Dow slipped seven points, or 0.1%, to close at 15,002 Tuesday.

Intel posted a second straight day of index-topping returns, adding 1.1%, as investors continue to bid up shares following an analyst upgrade on Monday. Intel stock has underperformed the Dow by about 7% this year, and it's starting to look like an investment that's primed for value and income investors. The company rewards shareholders with a 4.1% dividend, after all, and with its Atom tablet chip in the works, and a refresh of Microsoft's Windows XP on the horizon, the stock looks at least mildly tempting. 

Bank of America tacked on 1% Tuesday, gaining in the face of news that an intern at one of the financial giant's London offices died after working until dawn for three consecutive days. The 21-year-old was epileptic, and little more than that is known about his tragic death, although the situation is sparking calls for reform in the world of investment banking. 

Although all 10 sectors of the market advanced Tuesday, half of the components in the Dow managed to fall, with Johnson & Johnson logging some of the day's biggest losses. All it took was a slide of 0.8% to end toward the bottom of the Dow, as shares lost ground despite few substantial developments meriting a fall. The company did complete a $1 billion acquisition (small potatoes for the $250 billion health-care powerhouse) today, and acquisitions often cause a temporary downtick in the purchaser's stock as the acquiring money shells out cash for the new enterprise.

Home Depot shed 1.2%, despite reporting sales and earnings beats in the most recent quarter. With a strengthening housing market, the main fears with the stock are now its valuation and management's guidance, which underwhelmed investors today as the home improvement chain's conservative forecasts reflect the specter of rising interest rates. That said, management isn't too conservative about its prospects: The company plans to repurchase more than $2 billion of its stock before the year is through.

If you're looking for some long-term investing ideas, the Dow's a good place to start. All 30 companies are bellwethers of American industry that aren't going anywhere anytime soon. So why not get paid annually while you invest in these modern-day titans? Frankly, we don't see a reason why you shouldn't; you're invited to check out The Motley Fool's brand-new special report, "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." It's absolutely free, so simply click here now and get your copy today.

The article Why the Dow Stumbled for a 5th Straight Day originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned.  You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine . The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America, Home Depot, Intel, and Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and Microsoft. 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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