Eleven years after September 11 became one of the most significant days in the lives of three generations of Americans, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is surging higher. As of 12:30 p.m. EDT, the index is at 13,337, up 82.71 points, or 0.62%. Of the 30 Dow components, 26 are currently trading up on the day. The three stocks trading the lowest are American Express (NYS: AXP) , Home Depot (NYS: HD) , and Kraft Foods (NAS: KFT) .
First let's start with American Express, which is down 0.86% for the day. Earlier today it was announced that the National Retail Federation plans to fight the settlement between a few retailers and credit card companies Visa (NYS: V) and MasterCard. NRF President Matthew Shy said, "The proposal is a lose-lose-lose for merchants, consumers, and competition." The proposed agreement over swipe fees would cost credit card companies a combined $7.2 billion now, but it would allow swipe fees to rise in the future while barring any new legal conflicts. A number of other retail trade organizations have voiced objections to the deal.
While the swipe fee dispute may have something to do Home Depot trading lower today by 0.57%, the bigger concern for the home improvement store is stagnating U.S. income. In August, the average hourly earnings were little changed from July and up only 1.7% from the previous year. That represents the smallest gain since 2007, when these numbers were first recorded. Although consumers are not seeing their paychecks get larger, they are seeing the price of daily staples increase. Gas prices are rising, and the drought is causing concerns that food prices will skyrocket in the coming months. This all paints a bad picture for Home Depot, because fixing up your house is considered by most Americans as discretionary spending that can wait until times are better.
Lastly, Kraft Foods is trading lower today by 0.87%. This comes after Credit Suisse reduced its estimates for the company. Although Kraft did get an upgraded rating by Fitch Ratings, the problem is that the ratings boost is focused on post-split Kraft, and it will apply to the global snacks portion, Mondelez International.
While all three companies are up for the year, Home Depot investors should keep an eye on consumer spending and take action if the retail sector begins to falter. The current settlement the credit card companies have in place will affect Visa and MasterCard more than American Express, but if it's overturned, it will more than likely be bad for all three. Finally, Kraft Foods' planned split is designed to increased shareholder value -- and it will do just that, so long as investors keep a long-term vision in mind. Now that you know why these three Dow stocks are falling, find out which three Dow stocks our analyst have marked as the best by simply clicking here.
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