3 Blue Chips That Stumbled Today

With the first week of the new year filed away, a positive January effect is still in play for 2011, as three major indices closed up for the week. For those who subscribe to "the January effect," the belief that a positive first month of an election year bodes well for the remaining 11 months, these first days are important. Some analysts even suggest that the close of the first week is even more important than where we stand on the 31st.

Lots of macro news propelled today's market to mixed results. The jobs report has U.S. unemployment down to 8.5% as more than 200,000 new jobs were added. Some of them were probably seasonal, but the number came in well above estimates and moved jobless claims to the best level in nearly three years. We also saw news that the Federal Reserve plans to set a target inflation rate while urging for fiscal policies to buoy the housing market. On the flip side, high yields for troubled eurozone countries Spain and Italy before next week's bond offerings continue to cause concern that the region's problems are far from solved.

With all of that going on, it is no surprise that we saw mixed performances on relatively thin volume. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) turned in a negative day, as it ended down 55 points, or 0.45%. The S&P 500 also closed down but managed a lesser 0.25% loss. The Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC  ) was the only one of the tree to end up ended up, adding 0.16%. For the week, the indices managed to close up 1.2%, 1.6%, and 2.7% respectively.

The mixed results were reflected inside the Dow as well. Three well-known blue chips turned in poor showings. The worst of the group was the world's third-largest aluminum producer. Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) lost 2.14% ahead of reporting earnings on Monday. Expectations for the company are low, as aluminum prices have remained depressed.

Second place goes to turbulent Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , down 2.06%, retracing from its significant 8.6% gain yesterday, though it managed to remain above the $6-per-share mark. Potential solutions for the housing market could potentially help or hurt the bank, so the reception to the Federal Reserve's push for government policy was mixed. Our third-place stumbler was DuPont (NYSE: DD  ) , down 1.41% on no news. We'll see if it breaks out of its 2011 funk, when shares lost 5% for the year.

All told, it appears the market is continuing a positive trend to kick off the year. It's worth watching with a close eye to see how the market closes this week and this month, as well as whether past trends for January remain true.

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David Williamson holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. 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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  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 8:25 PM, Domeyrock wrote:

    I would argue that Alcoa and Bank of America are hardly blue chips. They are well known in the market yes but aren't blue chips defined as steady accountable growing companies in any market? And honestly thinking companies like BAC or Alcoa to be accountable is a big mistake. Within the past year, BAC, Alcoa, Oracle, HP, all the proclaimed "blue chips" and recently new CEOs to lead them. I wouldn't trust them with my money until they've proven they can be trustworthy.

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