Why the Dow Dropped Today

Thanks for the help, Uncle Ben.

On a day where many investors anxiously hoped the U.S. Federal Reserve might initiate further stimulus into what looks like an increasingly lackluster economic rebound, investors were left for wanting. Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) fell sharply late in the day to close 0.3% lower. Markets had been hopeful the Fed would start another round of its quantitative easing, with the Dow trading in positive territory going into the Fed meeting. Alas, we'll have to wait for next month.

Other major U.S. indexes followed the Dow lower today. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 also fell 0.7% and 0.3%, respectively, during the day's trading. The market's so-called "fear gauge," or the VIX (INDEX: ^VIX) , climbed slightly higher today as well, notching a 0.2% gain.

Around the markets
Trading today took an unusually strange tone. The prices of 148 companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange swung massively during the day, forcing the NYSE to stop trading of the affected companies in some cases

Beyond that, other companies generated plenty of interest for actual reasons. Market pinata Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) registered the largest swing today among Dow components. The reeling PC maker fell 3.2% today after a California judge ruled in HP's favor in its bitter legal spat with server giant Oracle. According to Santa Clara Superior Court judge James Kleinberg, the contract binds Oracle to produce its product suite on HP's Itanium server platform.

Shares of Frontier Communications (NAS: FTR) popped to the tune of 10.7% after the company reported better-than-expected earnings. Although revenue declined, Frontier surprised investors by posting EPS of $0.08, well ahead of the $0.05 analysts expected. Equally impressive, shares of InterDigital (NAS: IDCC) also rocked upward today, gaining 14.2% as an appeals court ruling gave new life in its legal battles with Nokia and its alleged use of InterDigital's patents.

Foolish bottom line
Regardless of the day's movements, investors should spend their time trying to identify companies that have all the makings of long-term winners. Thankfully, the Fool's analyst things they've identified three Dow stocks that make the grade. You can find out all the details of these potential winners by grabbing your copy of the Fool's new research report.

The article Why the Dow Dropped Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Andrew Tonnerheld no financial position in any of the companies mentioned in this article. You can find Andrew and all his Foolish writing onTwitterat@Andrew Tonner. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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