Dow Plunges in Last Hour of Trading

Dow Plunges in Last Hour of Trading

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

This morning it seemed if bad economic news was good news for investors, because it meant the Federal Reserve may be less likely to cut its stimulating bond-buying program back from $85 billion a month. But an early rally fizzled out in the last hour of trading, and the markets fell into the red.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded in the black for nearly the whole day and peaked when it was up 39 points. But everything went south in the closing hour -- within 20 minutes it lost more than 85 points. For the day, the blue-chip average closed the session down 64, points or 0.43%, and now sits at 14,946. The other major indexes also closed lower today, as the S&P 500 shed 0.4% and the Nasdaq lost a mere 0.01%.

Today's poor economic data came in the form of durable-goods orders for July, which showed a decline of 7.3% for the month while analysts were expecting a drop of just 4%. Not only did orders come in much lower than expected, but they moved lower for the first time in four months and posted the largest drop we've seen since August of last year.

A few Dow losers today
Shares of Procter & Gamble slid 1.84%. My colleague Dan Caplinger noted earlier today that the move may have been caused by a Wall Street Journal report last Friday indicating that the company is paying $200,000 for CEO A.G. Lafley's temporary residence in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. As the decision to bring back Lafley for another turn in the CEO seat therefore appears to be a temporary placement, investors shouldn't expect him to undertake any major acquisitions, sales, or structural business changes. However, that may just be what P&G needs right now, since those kinds of moves take time to play out and aren't necessarily what you want to throw a new CEO into the middle of.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase lost 0.99% today, after Dick Bove at Rafferty Capital Markets downgraded the stock from "buy" to "hold" and lowered his price target from $60 top $57. Bove said he sees three risks to the company's earnings moving forward, all dealing with what Bove referred to as a "consequence of government vendetta." Bove thinks the revenues earned from investment banking and payment transactions are likely to decline in the coming months, while legal costs will increase as a number of federal agencies investigate the bank.

This downgrade may have also caused shares of Bank of America to slide 0.55%. While Bank of America isn't dealing with the same legal issues as JPMorgan Chase, it does have its hands full with lawsuits and legal problems, which will certainly hurt earnings in the coming quarters.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Check back Monday through 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 and Procter & Gamble and owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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