Why the Dow Continued to Struggle Today


After a heated start to the year that saw major indices reach five-year highs, a two day losing streak has shaved off more than 150 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average , sparking speculation that we may be seeing the beginning of a more dramatic correction. The Dow stumbled 46 points today, or 0.34%, to close at 13,880.

One company that didn't get the bearish memo today was Hewlett-Packard , which added 2.4% during the day before surging more than 6% after hours, following first quarter results that exceeded Wall Street expectations. Despite a sixth straight quarter of declining year-over-year revenue, the 6% fall in sales in the most recent quarter actually demonstrated that HP's turnaround efforts may be starting to take effect.

Bank of America , on the other hand, fell 3.2% for a second consecutive day, to rank as the worst performing blue chip stock. The catalyst was the same that played a role in the broader market's sluggishness: the Federal Reserve minutes from January that have investors worried about the future of quantitative easing measures.

Outside of the Dow, shares of Texas Instruments went the same way as most other semiconductor companies on the day, falling 1.75%. Of the 24 groups in the S&P 500 Index, the semiconductor group had the worst showing Thursday. The tables may turn with TI shares tomorrow, as the company hiked its dividend by 33%, and also authorized a further $5 billion worth of share buybacks this afternoon.

3D Systems , one of the hottest stocks in the market over the last few years, continued its recent steep pullback Thursday, falling more than 8%, to close more than 23% below its 52-week highs. Seeing trading volume more than 70% higher than normal, investors are taking profits - and there are plenty to be had for long-term shareholders - before the company reports earnings on Monday.

3D Systems is at the leading edge of a disruptive technological revolution, with the broadest portfolio of 3-D printers in the industry. However, despite years of earnings growth, 3D Systems' share price has risen even faster, and today, the company sports a dizzying valuation. To help investors decide whether the future of additive manufacturing is bright enough to justify the lofty price tag on the company's shares, The Motley Fool has compiled a premium research report on whether 3D Systems is a buy right now. In our report, we take a close look at 3D Systems' opportunities, risks, and critical factors for growth. You'll also find reasons to buy or sell, and receive a full year of analyst updates with the report. To start reading, simply click here now for instant access.

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Fool contributor John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems and Bank of America and has the following options: Short Jan 2014 $55 Calls on 3D Systems and Short Jan 2014 $30 Puts on 3D Systems. 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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