Pfizer Stock Slumps, Dow Plummets More Than 200 Points


Until about 2 p.m. EST, it looked like just another day in the market. But two hours before the closing bell rang in the weekend, a flurry of selling began, driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 208 points, or 1.4%, to end at 15,115. Pfizer's stock led blue chips lower, as Wall Street panicked, presuming the Fed would taper its stimulus efforts after business activity jumped in May.

Intel ended as the top stock in the Dow, adding 0.3% on news that the chip maker would power Samsung's upcoming 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 3. Not only is it great for Intel to align itself with a market leader in an up-and-coming tablet market, but the company is also stealing business from a rival. ARM Holdings was formerly the exclusive manufacturer of chips in Samsung-powered devices.

Alcoa shares barely stayed in the black on Friday, tacking on 0.1%. However, on a day like today, when 28 of the 30 stocks in the Dow fell, maintaining small gains isn't so shabby. Investors were encouraged by confidence from Chicago's manufacturing industry, as the Windy City's purchasing managers' index registered at 58.7 today, far higher than the reading economists expected.

Hewlett-Packard lost 3.3% today. The Wall Street Journal reported that HP is seeking a buyer for its majority share in the Indian-based software firm MphasiS, asking for at least $1 billion. There are no interested parties as of yet, the report said. HP seems to be hawking its subsidiary, which it acquired in a 2008 purchase, partly because it is a cost-ineffective, non-core business. Shareholders must be concerned about HP's judgment in acquisitions after last year's $8.8 billion Autonomy write-off.

Lastly, Pfizer's stock slumped 3.6% today. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey initiated coverage of the shares, but presented a bearish outlook, with a 12-month price target of just $27 -- $0.23 below today's closing price. Pfizer, which pays a 3.3% dividend, may also be suffering as income stocks fall out of favor. To add insult to injury, the health-care industry was the worst-performing area in the markets today, making for a trifecta of negative catalysts driving Pfizer shares lower.

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