Today's Best and Worst Dow Stocks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has taken a slight hit today, with financials leading the way down as the market eagerly awaits the minutes from the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting. As of 1:25 p.m. EDT the Dow is down 28 points, or 0.18%, to 15,272. The S&P 500 is down 0.15% 1,650.

There were no U.S. economic releases today. China reported worse-than-expected import and export data, with imports falling 0.7% and exports falling 3.1% from a year ago. A slowing Chinese economy is a big threat to the worldwide economy. We'll get more information on Sunday when China reports second-quarter GDP. The third quarter will likely be worse, given the mini credit crunch Chinese banks went through last month.

At 2 p.m. EDT the Federal Reserve releases the minutes from its June meeting. This is the most highly anticipated release of Federal Reserve minutes since the last one -- but, all jokes aside, it may be useful to read over the discussion and gain a deeper understanding of the Fed's thinking. The June meeting was the meeting one that spooked the markets, particularly the bond market, when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in the ensuing press conference that the Fed could begin tapering its asset purchases as quickly as the end of this year. The bond markets sold off in anticipation of the Federal Reserve slowing its $85 billion-per-month asset purchases, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose sharply to its current level of 2.67%.

10 Year Treasury Rate Chart
10 Year Treasury Rate Chart

10 Year Treasury Rate data by YCharts.

Financials are holding the Dow back today for no clear reason. American Express is the worst Dow stock this afternoon, down 2%, followed by Bank of America and General Electric.Fool blogger Syed Shah recently looked at American Express and concluded that the stock is cheap.

Today's Dow leader is Hewlett-Packard , up 1.9%. The stock hit a 52-week intraday high of $26.70 after Citigroup upgraded the stock from "sell" to "buy" and raised its price target from $16 to $32. The analyst cited a survey of chief information officers showing that HP's business is gaining market share relative to its competitors. Citigroup is late to the HP party; the stock has risen 82% year to date and 36% over the past year. That said, the survey is another sign that HP's business is beginning to turn around.

The amount of data we store every year is growing by a mind-boggling 60% annually. For the past few years, HP has been diversifying into these faster-growing markets as its core PC and printer markets continue to become commoditized, but these investments have had some disastrous results. To make sense of this trend and pick out a winner, The Motley Fool has compiled a new report called "The Only Stock You Need to Profit From the NEW Technology Revolution." The report highlights a company that has gained 300% since it was first recommended by Fool analysts but still has plenty of room left to run. To get instant access to the name of this company transforming the IT industry, click here -- it's free.

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Dan Dzombak owns shares of Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends American Express and Bank of America. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and General Electric Company. 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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