Apple Sinks as the Dow Treads Water


Another day brings investors another chance to wait for the slow-moving cogs of the federal government to make progress toward resolving the fiscal cliff. Today's market action suggests that investors are more than willing to be patient, as stocks are trading within a tight range amid an absence of important news. As of 10:55 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrials are up just 12 points, while the broader market has fallen slightly.

Responsible for much of the Nasdaq Composite's 0.4% drop is Apple , which has sunk 3.6% despite its latest iPhone 5 going on sale in China. Analysts at UBS cut their price target on the stock from $780 to $700, arguing that while the current quarter's sales may be strong, revenue in the first quarter of next year is likely to fall off, as bulls may be overstating China's potential impact. Despite Fool contributor Evan Niu's arguments that Apple TV could be the company's next blockbuster, the tech sell-off has continued, and Apple remains more than 25% below its recent highs.

General Electric rose about half a percent on news that it will increase its dividend by 12% but has since slipped back to breakeven. The company slashed its payout during the financial crisis, but since then, it has done a good job of restoring it bit by bit every year. Still, the expected $0.19 per-share quarterly payout is nearly 40% below the pre-cut level of $0.31.

Finally, United Technologies climbed a quarter-percent after giving earnings guidance last night for its 2013 fiscal year. United Tech sees earnings in a range of $5.85 to $6.15 per share, representing 13% growth. However, with analysts already expecting earnings near the top of that range, the gains likely owed more to CEO Louis Chenevert's comments that the company could likely sustain earnings even if the fiscal cliff didn't get resolved.

Can Apple recover?
The recent swoon in Apple shares certainly raises big questions about whether Apple remains a buy. To get definitive answers to all your questions, Motley Fool senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief Eric Bleeker has put together his most in-depth report yet on Apple and its opportunities and challenges going forward. Read his views on reasons both to buy and to sell Apple, and then make your own informed investing decision. To get instant access to his latest thoughts on Apple, simply click here now.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns shares of Apple. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and General Electric. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple. 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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