Dow Drops as Fear of War Takes Over Markets

Dow Drops as Fear of War Takes Over Markets

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.

Given the stock market's impressive performance this year, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sitting more than 13% higher year to date, it has recently seemed as if investors are looking for any reason to sell. They've pointed to the Federal Reserve's potential "tapering" of quantitative easing, rising interest rates, poor economic data, and good economic data. Today, it's the possibility of military action being taken in Syria.

As of 12:55 p.m. EDT the Dow is down 115 points, or 0.77%, while the S&P 500 is off by 1.06% and the NASDAQ is 1.49% lower. The fear of a military strike in the Middle East is knocking investors for a loop today, and at the time of writing the only Dow stock in the green is Chevron -- click here to find out why. So let's take a look at some of the losers on the Dow.

After an amazing run-up last week, shares of Microsoft are having a rough go of it this week. Yesterday they fell 1.7%, and today they're down another 1.7% after reports from China indicated that the company is only expecting to ship 6.2 million Xbox One consoles in 2013, whereas previous estimates had called for 7 million units. Many analysts have been critical of the Xbox One because it is significantly more expensive than the newest Sony Playstation, which is also expected to be released prior to the holiday shopping season.

Shares of Bank of America are down 1.8% today after the company failed to convince a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit in which the United States is accusing the bank of knowingly selling thousands of toxic mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thereby costing taxpayers more than $1 billion. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said there are "genuine factual disputes" involving the governments' allegations that warrant letting the case go forward. The trial date is set for Sept. 23.

Late yesterday, McDonald's announced that starting Sept. 9, the company will begin rolling out "Mighty Wings" in its U.S. stores and will have the new menu item in all U.S. locations by Sept. 24. The new item is another attempt to help the company increase sales here at home, where McDonald's has been fighting with the competition to retain market share and increase same-store sales. But while this move may help McDonald's win back customers, it will surely hurt other restaurant chains, as the price of chicken wings will surely rise. Shares of Buffalo Wild Wings are also losing value today as investors consider how McDonald's new item will hurt the wing king.

McDonald's international growth is also crucial to the company's continued fast-food dominance. Like many American companies, McDonald's gives investors exposure to countries rife with high-growth opportunities. And it's just one of the companies that The Motley Fool has dubbed "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World." Simply click here to learn about the other two while this free report lasts.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Bank of America and Microsoft. 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, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chevron, and McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Buffalo Wild Wings, McDonald's, 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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