Stocks Crumble on Apple and Bank of America Concerns


If you're starting to get dizzy following the market, you're not the only one. For the third day in a row, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved by triple digits, this time falling by 0.9% today. On a day with no major earnings reports, Bank of America and Apple , arguably the market's two most volatile megacaps, seemed to be the culprits as both were down 4.7% and 5.5%, respectively.

Indexes in Germany and France were also both down 2.3% on rumors that the eurozone's two biggest economies could see downgrades in their credit ratings. The head of Germany's national bank, Jens Weidmann, said that the debt crisis could take the continent a decade to get over.

This afternoon's release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report showed the central bank sees a continuing "moderate" pace of growth from the economy as improvements in the housing and auto sector help defray headwinds from budget cuts and higher taxes. Though the Fed's observations and announcements sometimes cause wild swings in the market, today's report produced no reaction from investors.

After reporting earnings this morning, B of A share finished down 4.7% after missing earnings estimates, dragging down the whole financial sector along with it. The country's No. 2 bank by assets delivered a per-share profit of $0.20 a share, up from just $0.03 a year ago, but still below the $0.22 the Street had projected. B of A saw an increase in deposits and a 57% in mortgage originations, but mortgage banking income was still down from the year before. B of A share had nearly double in the last year, so perhaps market expectations had gotten of themselves. Among other banks tumbling on the news were JPMorgan Chase , down 3.5%, and Citigroup 2%.

Apple shares also plummeted 5.5%, dipping below $400 for the first time in more than a year. Investors are worried that the iPhone maker will miss estimates when it reports earnings next week as a number of weak signs have emerged. Shares of Cirrus Logic , a key supplier of audio components for Apple products, finished down 15.7% after it lowered revenue expectations for the quarter and a lower-than-expected inventory, presumably on reduced demand from Apple. Analysts have also said they expect iPhone sales to be down from the December quarter and that the iPad mini could cut into gross margins.

Bank of America's stock doubled in 2012. Is there more yet to come? With significant challenges still ahead, it's critical to have a solid understanding of this megabank before adding it to your portfolio. In The Motley Fool's premium research report on B of A, analysts Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, and Matt Koppenheffer, Financials bureau chief, lift the veil on the bank's operations, including detailing three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Click here now to claim your copy.

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Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman owns shares of Apple and Cirrus Logic. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. It owns shares of Bank of America, Cirrus Logic, and JPMorgan Chase. 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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