Dow Ends Erratic Week With a Whimper


As investors try to absorb everything that has happened this past week and determine what it means for the future, stocks are generally flat. As of 12:50 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a modest 21 points, while the the S&P 500 is up just 0.1%. Only the Nasdaq has moved the needle, down 0.38%.

Over the past few months we've grown accustomed to seeing big one-day drops followed by a session of strong gains -- likely a result of the "buy on the dip" mentality of traders. While yesterday's decline was, in most market participants' opinions, unwarranted, the fact that the markets have stalled today is worrying, as it may signal that those who have been buying on the dips are waiting for a deeper decline before they re-enter the markets.

A few Dow losers
Shares of Bank of America , down 1.8%, are leading all Dow laggards today. The journalist who discovered and first reported the robo-signing of foreclosure documents has now pulled another cat out of the bag. This time it appears that Bank of America and other mortgage servicers have been feeding incorrect information to bond trustees about the status of previously foreclosed homes. At this time we don't know whether Bank of America will face a fine, but we will surely learn more before long. To read more about this developing story, click here.

Shares of IBM are down 1.3% today, perhaps because of the disappointing fourth-quarter results Oracle posted yesterday. This is especially troubling because, as my colleague Alex Dumortier noted earlier today, the fourth quarter is historically Oracle's best in terms of sales. Investors may be concerned that this slowdown for Oracle will prove a trend for the whole IT sector, includes Big Blue. Investors have been concerned about IBM growth prospects moving forward. The stock has struggled in 2013, rising only 1.85% year to date to make it the fourth-worst-performing Dow component of the year.

Lastly, another Dow tech stock is moving lower today, but not likely due to Oracle's announcement. Shares of Hewlett-Packard are down 1.1%, likely because Michael Dell is once again pressuring Dell shareholders to allow the company to go private. Both Dell and HP are in the first stages of turning around their business, and if Dell goes private, it may hurt HP down the road, as Dell may be able to offer customers certain concessions that HP could not as a public company.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Bank of America. 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 Bank of America. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, International Business Machines., and Oracle.. 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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Originally published