Why the Dow's Choppy This Morning

A day after hitting 13,000 for the first time in years, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) jumped out of the gate this morning as unexpected strength in U.S. figures for gross domestic product helped send the stock market higher. But the market is also nervous and looking for guidance from the Federal Reserve as Ben Bernanke begins testimony before Congress today. At 10:45 a.m. EST, the Dow dropped below the 13,000 level and was down 24 points to 12,981.

Most of the Dow's tech contingent traded lower as well, as Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) and Hewlett-Packard both fell more than 1% despite the Nasdaq composite touching the 3,000 mark briefly before falling back. Everyone is focusing on Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) eclipsing the $500 billion mark in market cap, but Intel does something the iGiant has been steadfastly unwilling to do: pay a dividend. Intel's yield of more than 3% has attracted many income-oriented investors for whom Apple shares simply aren't an option.

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) also gave up ground today after competitor Joy Global (NYSE: JOY  ) announced earnings. Joy Global posted revenue growth and earnings-per-share growth figures that exceeded 30% each, yet those figures came in below expectations. Nevertheless, it raised profit guidance for the year. That bodes well for Caterpillar, whose mining equipment business needs strength from miners in order to prosper.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Intel, and Joy Global. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel and Apple, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple. 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.


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