Banks Stumble After Stress Test, Dragging Down the Dow

Banks Stumble After Stress Test, Dragging Down the Dow

The slow and steady stock sell-off continues today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.3% and the S&P 500 falling 0.39%. The big driver of markets today was another jump in interest rates, sparked by continued speculation involving the Federal Reserve's "tapering" of long-term bond purchases. The 10-year Treasury note's yield jumped to 2.9%, up from 1.62% as recently as May 1. Rising rates worry stock investors because they can increase corporate borrowing costs and impact the borrowing power of consumers.

Leading the Dow lower is JPMorgan Chase , down 2.3%. The Fed said that banks need to improve capital planning across the board, but it called out JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs for their "qualitative" concerns. The banks' capital ratios were found acceptable, but the Fed is concerned that banks aren't correctly modeling all risks associated with their businesses.

The next round of tests will begin in the fall and will include 30 banks instead of the 18 that were stress-tested in the spring. JPMorgan may have to alter capital plans like buybacks or dividends to get back in the Fed's good graces, but this wasn't an outright failure, so I wouldn't be too alarmed.

On the flip side, Intel is up 1.8% after an analyst at Piper Jaffrey upgraded the stock from "sell" to "neutral." That's not exactly a bullish sentiment, but analyst Gus Richard thinks the company has limited downside and strong potential with its next-generation "Bay Trail" mobile processors. Richard also thinks that Microsoft's ending of support for Windows XP will boost corporate sales of Windows 8.1. However, fellow Fool Anders Bylund put together a solid rebuttal to that point, saying that Windows 8.1, primarily designed for touchscreens, doesn't make sense for most corporate clients.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Microsoft and Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel, JPMorgan Chase, and Microsoft. 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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