The Dow's Sitting Flat After Wiping Out Earlier Gains


For the entire morning session, it looked as if the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) was going to give investors a treat by ending the week on a high note. While the index had risen almost 90 points at one point, the Dow promptly has dropped all its gains and currently sits flat, up 7 points as of 2 p.m. Stocks are mixed between risers and losers, although there's little movement on the Dow today as compared to the last few days; only seven stocks are up or down more than 1%. From one big loser to a sector on the rebound, let's see who's up and who's down in midday trading.

Political problems
President Obama's speech today over inviting Congressional leaders to the White House to resolve the fiscal cliff didn't go over well with investors. The Dow shaved most of its gains during the speech itself and dropped the rest soon after, as Wall Street digested Obama's continued support of raising taxes on incomes higher than $250,000. As David Lutz, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus, put it, "During his campaign he talked about addressing tax hikes for people making over a million a year, but it seemed like he dropped back to the $250,000 level. The market slid off pretty quickly after he said that."

It's not all politics dragging down the Dow, however. Shares of Disney (NYS: DIS) have been hammered today, dropping nearly 6%. The entertainment stock slid after the company's release of third-quarter data yesterday. Disney warned of rising costs in the near future because it's pursuing expansion and growth opportunities, which -- combined with declining advertising revenue -- spooked some investors to jump ship in today's sell-off. Given the company's recent aggressive moves, however, investors focused on the future could see this as a great opportunity to buy in on a big dip.

UnitedHealth Group (NYS: UNH) also slid more than 1% to join Disney among the top Dow laggards. The company is still dealing with the fallout of the election, which virtually guaranteed the future implementation of Obamacare. The health care act will force UnitedHealth and its peers to insure higher-risk patients, negating some of the advantages of the addition of millions of newly insured Americans. The stock is down more than 6% over the last three days.

Is the economy back?
On the upswing, the manufacturing sector rebounded today in a big way. Some of the Dow's top industrials lead the index higher, with Boeing (NYS: BA) up nearly 3%, while both Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) and General Electric (NYS: GE) have seen shares gain more than 1%. Two releases today suggested that the economy is picking up steam -- wholesale stockpiles rose by their fastest rate in nine months in September, and consumer sentiment about the economy rose to its highest level in five years. An economy on the rise will mean good things for these industrial picks and their peers, which are heavily tied to its performance.

With great opportunity comes great responsibility. For today's top Dow stock, Boeing, which operates as a major player in a multitrillion-dollar market, the opportunity is absolutely massive. However, the company's execution problems and emerging competitors have investors wondering whether Boeing will live up to its shareholder responsibilities. In this premium research report, two of The Fool's best industrial industry minds have collaborated to provide investors with the key, must know issues around Boeing. They'll be updating the report as key news hits, so make sure to claim a copy today by clicking here now.

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Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney, General Electric Company, and UnitedHealth Group. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Walt Disney and UnitedHealth Group. 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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