Dow Couldn't Hold Onto its Big Gains


Investors were hit with positive job numbers and upwardly revised GDP numbers today, which took the Dow Jones Industrial Average as high as 14,149.15 during today's regular trading hours. The Dow peaked a little after 2 p.m. EST, when the index was higher by more than 73 points. But it was all downhill from that point, and the blue chip index actually closed the day down 20 points, or 0.15%. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also followed suit and closed the day lower by 0.09% and 0.07%, respectively.

A few Dow winners
But not all of the Dow's 30 components followed the indexes lower. Shares of Home Depot closed higher by 0.65%. Since announcing earnings on Tuesday, shares of the home improvement store are up nearly 4.5%. The company beat analysts' expectations on both the top and bottom line, and also announced a 35% increase to its dividend, and a $17 billion share buyback program. Home Depot's stock is now trading for 22 times current earnings, and 17 times future earnings. That valuation is on the expensive side considering the headwinds that the U.S. economy still has to face. But if the U.S. housing market continues to strengthen, Home Depot's stock price should move higher.

Shares of Coca-Cola also rose higher today, gaining 0.7%. The company sold $2.5 billion in its first bond offering in almost a year. The sale was made to fund the repurchase of future bond notes due in August of this year, as well as some maturing in 2014, and others in 2015. The notes were given ratings of Aa3 by Moody's, AA- by Standard & Poor's, and Fitch slapped an A+ rating on the bonds. The positive ratings from all three agencies is a sign to investors that Coke remains strong and should have the ability to pay its debt while maintaining its current 2.9% dividend yield.

Hewlett-Packard once again made the winner's list today after its shares rose by 1.87%, and once again it was the Dow's best performing stock of the day. Earlier in the week, Meg Whitman, HP's CEO, said that the once-dominant PC manufacturer will be focusing more of its attention on the mobile computing industry. That came in conjunction with the announcement that HP was selling its wedbOS operating system. Then, just yesterday, it was announced that HP would be developing tablets which run on the Android operating system.

This is all good news to investors, because Whitman understands that the PC business, in general, is slowing, and the focus on mobile will help with growth. Additionally, the move to use an existing proven operating system means Whitman doesn't want to bite off more than she can chew in this new field.

More foolish insight on HP

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Check back daily as Matt gives the rundown on the Dow's winners and losers of the day, or follow him on Twitter @mthalman5513. Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola and Home Depot. 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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