Dow Dips Below 15,000 Mark as Markets Sell Off

As investors nervously anticipate the day the Federal Reserve slows its easy-money policies, the markets are tumbling. As of 12:50 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 206 points, or 1.36%, to slide below the 15,000 mark. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have lost 1.49% and 1.53%, respectively.

As my colleague Dan Caplinger noted earlier, the majority of the Dow's components are simply moving lower because of the overall negativity in the markets, rather than company-specific news. But a few of the Dow's 30 stocks didn't even need macroeconomic pressure to underperform today.

Shares of Coca-Cola and Walt-Disney are down significantly after analysts released negative comments about the companies. Morgan Stanley cut its estimates on Coke today due to lower demand for the company's beverages and unfavorable currency rates. We have seen in the past how a strong dollar can affect a company's quarterly profits, and because Coke's products are found in nearly every country around the world and it continues to see more revenue come from outside the U.S., Coke will surely be negatively affected if the dollar continues to strengthen against other currencies around the globe. Shares of Coke are down 2.2%.

Disney has lost 2.4% today after Goldman Sachs lowered its rating on the stock from "buy" to "neutral" and removed the stock from Goldman's Conviction List. Goldman Sachs cited increasing competition for Disney's ESPN network. ESPN recently announced job cuts and the end of its 3-D programming as ways to lower its operating costs, but increased competition in the sporting market will likely raise the cost of long-term programming rights for sporting events.

Although fellow Dow component Hewlett-Packard received a stock rating upgrade, shares are still down 1.8%. Wells Fargo upgraded HP to "outperform" from "market perform" based on the idea that even without sales improving, HP can deliver growth in net income and free cash flow in the future.

The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including venerable technology names like Hewlett-Packard. However, HP is rapidly shifting its strategy under the leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one of the least-appreciated turnaround stories on the market, or is this a minor detour on its road to irrelevance? The Motley Fool's technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our new premium research report. Just click here now to get your copy today.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Walt Disney. Check back Monday thru Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of 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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