For months, investors have worried that the slowdown in economies around the world would eventually have an impact on earnings for U.S. stocks. With several companies warning about their coming earnings reports, it seems that at least some of those fears have come true. Today, though, most market analysts are pointing to this afternoon's Federal Reserve release of the minutes of its most recent Open Market Committee meeting as the reason behind the market largely treading water today. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) were down 56 points just after 10:45 a.m. EDT, but the broader market is only down slightly.
Among Dow stocks, JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) gained about 0.7%. The bank reportedly plans to try to go after Chief Investment Officer Ina Drew, "London Whale" trader Bruno Iksil, and other executives involved in JPMorgan's recent multibillion-dollar trading fiasco, seeking to claw back millions of dollars in bonuses or stock-based compensation. Obviously, whatever JPMorgan pulls back won't make a big dent in the huge losses the trade caused, but it sends a message that the bank holds itself accountable for its losses.
DuPont (NYS: DD) was the big loser on the Dow, falling around 3% as it faces allegations from rival Monsanto (NYS: MON) that DuPont withheld information about the lack of effectiveness of its engineered soybean seeds. The allegations are connected to Monsanto's patent lawsuit, in which it contends that DuPont used Monsanto's Roundup Ready genetic traits in its products instead. With the importance of agriculture to DuPont, it can ill afford to lose face in the industry.
Finally, Disney (NYS: DIS) was down only slightly after Standard & Poor's announced that Disney's bond rating of A would be unaffected by its decision to increase its stake in the A&E Television Networks joint venture. With Comcast's majority-owned NBC Universal unit selling its nearly 16% stake in the venture, Disney will share the network with fellow media giant Hearst. Media has become a big part of Disney's business, and with content becoming ever more valuable, it could continue to be a major profit-producer for Disney.
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Disney and JPMorgan Chase. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Disney and creating a modified stock repair against synthetic long position in Monsanto. 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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