The Dow Is Flat After Yesterday's Bloodbath


After yesterday's market massacre, investors today would have been happy with just about any measure of relief from the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) . The news today isn't great, but at least it's not bad: Although the Dow might not be recovering its terrible losses from yesterday, the index has managed to eke out a gain of 17 points, or 0.13%, as of 2 p.m. EDT. Stocks are fairly evenly split between gainers and losers, but at least the market hasn't crashed again today.

Bouncing back
Earnings season churns on, although today's results haven't hit with the same ferocity of the past few trading days. Aerospace giant Boeing (NYS: BA) raised its 2012 guidance after beating earnings-per-share expectations for the third quarter, although shares of the company are flat after falling from earlier gains. Boeing has done well recently, picking up nearly 5% over the past month. The company's optimistic future outlook should reinforce investor confidence that Boeing sees more blue skies ahead, despite the looming fiscal cliff's potential hammer blow to defense contractors.

Around the Dow, the two major energy giants, Exxon Mobil (NYS: XOM) and Chevron (NYS: CVX) , have also recorded modest gains today. The stocks are up 0.1% and 0.8%, respectively, alongside several other notable energy and oil giants outside the Dow performing well so far.

Among today's leaders are Proctor & Gamble (NYS: PG) and Pfizer (NYS: PFE) . The two stocks are both trading near 52-week highs and have risen 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively.

Stocks continuing the slide
On the downside, Cisco (NAS: CSCO) leads all Dow laggards by a mile, as it has fallen 3.3% on the day. Cisco was hit by a rival's reduced guidance, but the company has faced recent questions from analysts on its direction. Cisco's competitors have quickly adapted to using software-defining networking, a type of networking architecture that allows for quick optimization of routing. It's possible that these new upstarts could threaten Cisco's core router business, particularly as Cisco has been slow to adopt the trend itself.

Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) and DuPont (NYS: DD) ranked among the next tier of Dow laggards, each losing 0.7% so far. The latter continues its slide after its recent horrific earnings report sent the stock plunging.

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