With Eyes to the Middle East, the Dow Stumbles
The past two mornings have been very good to Wall Street. The trouble seems to be that bears are late to rise. Today, for instance, the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded almost solely in positive territory, only to go in the red after lunchtime and never look back. Bears are easily awoken from hibernation by even the faint whiff of a civil war, which isn't imminent but has become a real possibility in Egypt. The Dow ended down 42 points, or 0.3%, to close at 14,932.
JPMorgan Chase claimed the top spot in the blue-chip index on Tuesday, adding 1.3% after an upgrade from Raymond James Financial. The brokerage and investment company believes that the fallout from the infamous London Whale incident -- in which a single rogue trader lost the bank billions of dollars -- has largely been smoothed over. Now boasting a strong buy rating from Raymond James, the $64 price target implies an upside of more than 20% from today's close.
Enjoying the inclusion in the best-performing sector in the markets today, telecom, AT&T gained 0.7%. Part of the excitement behind the stock may also be due to investor schadenfreude at the expense of Sprint Nextel, which is being hit by a $300 million lawsuit. It's not just any lawsuit, either. This one is being brought by New York state and alleges Sprint failed to pay more than $100 million in taxes over seven years in an effort to provide more attractive rates to customers.
Boeing , which lost 1.7% today, was perhaps one of the most concerned companies in the Dow about tensions and unrest in Egypt. The Egyptian military has reportedly given President Mohamed Morsi until tomorrow night to reach common ground with opposition leaders. Oil prices shot up in afternoon trading, as clashes in resource-rich countries like Egypt and Syria become more uncertain and intense. Rising fuel costs may stem demand for aircrafts like those Boeing produces.
Industrials ended the day as the weakest sector, so you might expect General Electric shares to struggle a bit. Struggle they did -- shares tumbled 1.9% -- but the sell-off was more due to the financial side of GE's business. The broadly diversified conglomerate decided not to appeal a designation by the U.S. government claiming the company is systemically important to the nation's economy. While flattering, big businesses cringe at the new label, which brings with it stiffer regulations and more oversight.
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