Why the Dow's Falling Hard This Morning

All good things must come to an end, and at least for the moment, the stock market's amazing run is taking a well-deserved break. Weakness in U.S. housing starts was offset somewhat by a jump in housing permits to their best levels in more than three years, but China's economy continues to show signs of a slowdown that could threaten a big part of the global expansion. As of around 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) were down 83 points to 13,157, while the S&P 500 lost 8 points to 1,402. Overseas, stocks fell even harder, with London's FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) down about 1.2%.

Among Dow stocks, Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) fell more than 1% despite getting some encouraging news on the PC front. Research firm IDC released figures suggesting that PC sales could grow as much as 5% this year, especially in the second half of the year, as the release of Windows 8 could prompt a resurgence in demand.

Disney (NYS: DIS) fell 0.8% in early trading. The company now believes that the movie John Carter will lose a projected $200 million. That will be more than enough to take what would have been an operating profit for the quarter and turn it into an overall loss of between $80 million and $120 million. 

Finally, Coca-Cola (NYS: KO) was up slightly despite news that soft-drink consumption in the U.S. declined at a faster pace during 2011. Volumes fell about 1% to 9.27 billion cases, according to Beverage Digest, accelerating from a 0.5% decline in 2010.

Keep your cool
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At the time this article was published Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Walt Disney and Coca-Cola. 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.

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