Will the Dow Finish Strong?

The markets are mixed heading into the final hour of trading, which is unsurprising given the mediocre macro news on the housing front. The still-impaired housing sector continues to weigh on the recovery, and existing home sales fell 0.9% last month and inventories rose to 6.4 months. However, prices saw a minor increase. The market has responded with a shrug, turning in the lackluster results seen below.



Gain/Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI)




Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC)




S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC)




Source: Yahoo! Finance.

The three major indexes are clearly mixed with the S&P 500 essentially flat and the Dow down just over 0.1%. The Nasdaq has seen a nearly 0.5% increase, easily outpacing the other two, but the broad tech gains clearly didn't spread to Dow component Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) .

With shares down 2.3% after announcing a reorganization plan that has the company's PC business merging with printers, HP is the Dow's biggest decliner. Clearly, investors aren't impressed with Meg Whitman's first big move, believing the reorganization isn't aggressive enough to turn the company's fortunes around by itself. However, the move makes sense. The marriage should reduce costs while hopefully allowing the division to create better, more integrated products (and not some sort of unwieldy laptop/printer abomination). What should really help drive the business is the upcoming release of fellow Dow component Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) newest operating system, Windows 8. An end-of-summer Windows 8 debut should coincide with a round of PC upgrades so HP's new unit has definite tailwinds behind it.

And speaking of tailwinds, the Dow has gained strength after the earlier plunge and appears poised to finish in positive territory. Can it stop a losing streak from starting? It looks likely, but today's trading session is rapidly heading toward its close.

A better approach
Watching the broad market each day can be exciting, gut-wrenching, and stressful. If you're in the mood to pick up a great company to buy for the long term though, The Motley Fool has created a brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It features a company hand-selected by the Fool's chief investment officer that has a strong future ahead of it. I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Get access to the report and find out the name of this legendary company. The report is free, but won't be forever, so check it out today.

At the time thisarticle was published David Williamson holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.