The Dow Is Feeling Bipolar Today


The Dow Jones (INDEX: ^DJI) looks pretty placid today, gaining just 0.3% as of this writing. But there's always turmoil when you dig a little deeper.

Today, the index gets another jolt of adrenaline from the infrastructure sector, while telecoms hold the Dow back from larger gains.

The biggest winner at midday was construction machinery giant Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) , whose 2.5% jump added 17 points of Dow value. United Technologies (NYS: UTX) is hot on Caterpillar's heels, jumping 1.8% to boost the Dow by 11 points.

These infrastructure plays -- and several other solid gainers besides -- are still riding the wave of optimism that was triggered by the Fed's QE3 plan yesterday. Today, analysts are following up on that policy action with a slew of government-inspired upgrades, and Mr. Market is still taking notice.

So why didn't the big telecoms follow suit? AT&T (NYS: T) fell 2.3% overnight, and Verizon dropped by 2.4%. Combined, these two moves sliced 16 points off the Dow. That's enough to negate Caterpillar's index-leading gain. Aren't these guys part of our national infrastructure, too?

Well, there's this brand-new Apple (NAS: AAPL) iPhone 5 flying off the carriers' preorder shelves. While that's arguably good for Ma Bell and Big Red in the long run, record-breaking iPhone sales would hurt their margins in the launch quarter since the telecoms subsidize every handset by several hundred dollars. You have to spend money to make money, you know, and the short-term effects often outweigh long-term gains when there's blood in the trading waters.

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