The Dow Falls, but Tech Gets a Boost


On the first full day of trading since the Thanksgiving holiday, fiscal-cliff jitters returned to the markets as Congress reconvened on Capitol Hill to debate the looming issue. Starting the day above 13,000, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) slid 42 points, or 0.33%, to close at 12,967.

Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) far outpaced the rest of the Dow, tacking on 2.5%. Shares have rebounded modestly since the company's steep 12% stumble last Monday, when the company announced it will take an $8.8 billion writedown because of its Autonomy acquisition last year. Twenty-two of the Dow's 30 components lost ground today, and Coca-Cola (NYS: KO) led all laggards, shaving 1.5% off its market cap. The iconic soda maker is up slightly more than the index as a whole so far in 2012, trading 6.8% higher. The Dow is up 6.1% on the year.

Knight Capital Group (NYS: KCG) saw a lot of action today, and the financial services firm's shares jumped more than 13% on rumors that the company may sell its market-making unit. You may recall Knight Capital from the headlines earlier this year, when "glitches" caused more than $400 million in losses. Investors unsurprisingly bid up the stock today in hopes that the unit responsible for those losses will be pawned off.

Tech giants Facebook (NAS: FB) and Apple (NAS: AAPL) highlighted the tech sector, helping to drive the Nasdaq (NAS: NDAQ) higher, gaining 8.1% and 3.2%, respectively. Facebook was buoyed by a bullish analyst who predicted the social networking company will hit nearly $7 billion in revenues in 2013, a figure 9% higher than average estimates. Apple was also the beneficiary of a newly positive outlook, as Citigroup gave shares of the Cupertino-based behemoth a $675 target price and a "buy" rating. Apple investors are keeping their eyes on holiday sales numbers, which could be a major catalyst for the company if they exceed estimates.

There is absolutely no argument that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with more than 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and more importantly, your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.

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John Divine owns shares of Apple. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Facebook and has options on Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Facebook, and Coca-Cola. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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