Stocks Stuck in Neutral After Hitting All-Time Highs

Stock markets are stuck in neutral today after ending last week at an all-time record close. As of 3:15 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down a negligible three points, while the S&P 500 is up a fraction of a point.

Among Dow stocks, shares of Cisco have made one of the biggest moves, dropping 1.3%. The company reported strong earnings last week, but the stock may have gotten ahead of fundamentals as investors got excited about an earnings beat in the network space. Today an analyst at R. W. Baird downgraded Cisco's FlexPod partner NetApp to neutral and said Cisco was unlikely to buy the firm. This news doesn't justify a big drop in the stock, but after the stock's run-up last week, a slight pullback comes as no surprise.

Consumer staple company Procter & Gamble is another big loser on the Dow today, falling 1.2%. The company filed a patent infringement lawsuit against CAO Group in an Ohio court today, alleging the infringement of a number of dental products. The suit centers on CAO products that compete with Crest Whitestrips, which marked P&G as an innovator in a new market. Such actions are common in areas protected heavily by intellectual property, and P&G is just trying to protect a prized business, so there's no need to panic today.

Merck rounds out the three Dow stocks losing big-time today, falling 1.9% to lead the index lower. The FDA released a review of the company's new sleep aid, finding it to be effective but noting some troubling side effects. Daytime drowsiness, suicidal thinking, and driving issues were cited in the report -- not side effects that Merck and its investors are happy about. The FDA will ask a panel of experts to vote on the safety and effectiveness of the drug, and it appears that higher dosing levels will be on the chopping block first.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems and Procter & Gamble. 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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