Dow Continues to Slide, but the Big Boys Try to Prop It Up


Despite making some progress to recoup losses on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is back in a downward dip this morning. Though it is recovering from its initial fall, the index remains at a 47-point loss at 11:15 a.m. EDT. Without much economic news to help it inspire investors, the Dow must rely on its component stocks to do the hard lifting.

They have some help though, coming from Asia, as the new Japanese stimulus plan took effect today. The Bank of Japan purchased 1.2 trillion yen in bonds from municipalities with maturities dating five years out. The country announced recently that it would be doubling its balance sheet through new bond purchases.

Dow's strongest players today
Disney is by far the strongest component this morning, up 0.83%. It was reported last week that the media and entertainment giant will begin layoffs in its studio and consumer products divisions over the next few weeks as a result of an internal company review. Though it is unclear how many layoffs will be completed, it shows that the company is consistently looking for ways to make itself leaner. Last week Disney announced that the video game division of its recently acquired LucasFilm, LucasArts, would no longer be producing games.

Coca-Cola is also up this morning, with a 0.81% gain. No big news for the beverage company so far this morning, but with its continued push to expand internationally, investors are happy to jump on board the dividend aristocrat. Coca-Cola has plans to spend $700 million in Indonesia over the next three years -- marking the Asian country as the next big emerging market. With a rising middle class, the company is hinging its success on more available disposable income in the country. The beverage behemoth still remains the Dow's least-shorted stock.

Ahead of its earnings announcement that will kick off the new earnings season tonight, Alcoa is on the rise. Up 0.49% this morning, the company's earnings may set the tone for the broader materials market, and even the Dow itself. With a lot resting on its Chinese sector, investors will want to pay attention to how the company reports its results from the Asian country. Overall, Alcoa was forecasting earnings growth of 9% to 10% for the year. Weakened aluminum prices have created mixed opinion on whether that range is realistic.

Not helping
The biggest loser this morning is Johnson & Johnson, with a drop of 1.5%. Just a few days after a huge courtroom win, the Band-Aid giant was downgraded by JPMorgan to neutral. Though the analyst downgraded the company, JPM's price target for J&J was raised to $83 from $77, which makes perfect sense given that the stock currently trades around $80.

Is bigger really better?
Involved in everything from baby powder to biotech, Johnson & Johnson's critics are convinced that the company is spread way too thin. If you want to know if J&J is nothing but a bloated corporate whale -- or a well-diversified giant that's perfect for your portfolio -- check out The Fool's premium report outlining the Johnson & Johnson story in terms that any investor can understand. Claim your copy by clicking here now.

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Fool contributor Jessica Alling has no position in any stocks mentioned, but you can contact her here. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, and Walt Disney. 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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