Why the Dow's Teetering Today


The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) was positive for much of the morning, but it changed course and has 23 points, or 0.18%, to about 13,053 as of 12:15 p.m. EDT. There were several macroeconomic releases today indicating that modest domestic growth may be taking place.

The The U.S. Department of Commerce stated that demand for durable goods jumped 9.9% in September, a good indication that the economy is picking back up again. It was a welcome buck of the trend in August, when durable-goods orders dropped 13.1%.

New unemployment numbers also came out: Jobless claims fell 23,000 to 369,000 for the week ended Oct. 20. While fewer unemployment claims can mean an improving workforce, the employment numbers released today are by no means signs of a robust recovery. Analysts were expecting the number to be around 370,000.

Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) has been the best Dow performer all day, jumping more than 3% following a great quarter. Earnings were $1.06 per share, far higher than the company's own $0.97 projection at the high end of previous company forecasts. Aside from the $10 billion restructuring plan already announced earlier in the year, P&G hinted that it will continue to look for ways to cut costs substantially.

Ford (NYS: F) , though not in the Dow, will also focus on restructuring and cutting costs, the company announced on Thursday. Amidst a faltering economy in Europe, where the company has lost more than $3 billion in just two years, Ford will shut down three factories in the continent -- two in the U.K. and one in Belgium. The moves could save Ford up to $500 million annually, according to the company. The stock was trading more than 1% higher at midday.

Boeing (NYS: BA) has been the Dow's biggest laggard, down more than 2% today, whereas yesterday it was one of the leading components after a positive forecast.

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John Divine has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Ford and The Procter & Gamble Company. 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 Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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