How the Dow's Finishing the Quarter

Coming into September, many investors feared that the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) would end up giving back their modest gains from earlier in the summer. But as it turns out, September is on target to be the best month of the quarter for the Dow, and currently the average is aiming at about a 4.5% gain for the quarter.

On the plus side, JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) and Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) lead the list of Dow gainers, both advancing more than 14%. For JPMorgan, the bank's London Whale trading scandal was painful, but as it turned out, the market's reaction to the news appears to have been overstated. After seeing shares plunge in the second quarter, shareholders seemed relieved by the actual losses involved and bid the stock higher.

Meanwhile, P&G gained on news that activist investor Bill Ackman was pursuing ways to help the company improve from recent miscues. Although some believe CEO Bob McDonald's job may be in jeopardy, any lasting answer has to involve improving operational efficiency and dealing with the ever-growing scope of the company's global consumer-products business.

On the other side of the coin, the big losers for the quarter were Intel (NAS: INTC) and Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) , both dropping in the neighborhood of 13%. For Intel, Fool contributor Evan Niu's prediction that the company would have to cut guidance came true, as a poor PC market limited its revenue and led to multiple downgrades for the chip giant. HP is dealing with many of the same trends, but it also is struggling to find direction. With the company grasping at straws like the possibility of a smartphone introduction, it's hard to imagine a turnaround for HP anytime soon.

September may be the Dow's cruelest month, but big crashes have happened in October, so don't get out the party hats just yet. Instead, make sure you know what you ought to about the stocks you own. For instance, Intel has some key events coming up, and you need to know what they are and what they'll mean for the chip giant. Find out in the Fool's premium report on Intel, which will keep you up to date all year long with free updates. Click here and get on top of Intel's potential today.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns warrants on JPMorgan Chase. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and JPMorgan Chase. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel and Procter & Gamble. 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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