Why the Dow Plunged 170 Points Today

Why the Dow Plunged 170 Points Today

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.

The likelihood of an American military intervention in Syria continued to rise today amid the piercing rhetoric from Washington's top brass. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that the U.S. is "ready to go" if a strike on Syria is called for. The sentiment caused Wall Street to promptly sell off on the fear of war, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average cratered 170 points, or 1.1%, ending at 14,776.

Coca-Cola added 0.1%, an insubstantial gain that was nonetheless enough to qualify Coke's stock as the top Dow performer. Coca-Cola FEMSA S.A.B. de C.V., a Mexican franchise bottler partially owned by the U.S.-based Coke, just acquired its Brazilian counterpart, Companhia Fluminense de Refrigerantes, for about $450 million, giving FEMSA -- and therefore Coca-Cola proper -- a firm presence in the South American emerging market.

Verizon Communications barely broke even, ending fractionally higher on a day where only two Dow stocks avoided losses. Verizon's 4.4% dividend yield is the second highest in the entire index, a quality that didn't hurt Tuesday as bond yields fell. With interest rates ticking modestly lower in the face of mounting Middle Eastern tensions, income investors, intelligently, start looking to investments like Verizon that offer both a solid yield and equity in the underlying company.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's stock finished near the bottom of the blue chips for a second straight day, losing 2.6% as shares continue to slide following the market's jubilant reaction to the news of CEO Steve Ballmer's impending exit on Friday. Though the software giant's Xbox One console could give the stock a boost after its holiday release, one analyst today said shares couldn't sustain a rally until the company really starts innovating in a post-PC world.

Lastly, Bank of America's stock shed 2.6% as a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against the bank was sent to trial by a U.S. district judge. The suit claims that the Charlotte-based bank, as a result of its Countrywide acquisition, is liable for more than $1 billion in losses incurred by American taxpayers after the government took control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008.

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The article Why the Dow Plunged 170 Points Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America and Coca-Cola. It owns shares of Bank of America 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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