Anyone expecting either a continuation of yesterday's big jump, or a major pullback from it, was disappointed today, as the markets instead finished mostly flat. Other markets moved sharply, though, as gold fell more than $55 per ounce, and bond yields rose to their highest levels since October. In the end, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) finished up 16 points at 13,194.
Some stocks ended up with fairly sharp losses, though. Let's look at three of them.
The big question in the short term, however, is what happens with the Iranian situation. The International Energy Agency released figures saying it was maintaining its estimate of oil demand growth at 0.9%. But with OPEC output reaching its highest figure since 2008, there may not be much spare capacity left if Iran decides to curb production. The resulting volatility might actually help Exxon in the short run, but much higher oil prices might reinvigorate those looking to impose windfall taxes or other measures against Big Oil.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) , down 0.9%
With the newest iPad about to hit shelves, HP has largely fallen out of the limelight. But the company did make an announcement today that's in line with its new strategy.
HP announced an IT support services solution aimed at cloud computing. With IT customers needing more help in proactively trying to stop problems before they arise, HP believes that it can add value by tailoring its support to fit with its other products and services. If it's successful, the move would bolster a "one-stop shop" effect that could position HP to follow in the footsteps of other IT leaders.
Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) , down 0.9%
Caterpillar seems to be falling for all the wrong reasons today. With an investment of $20 million in its manufacturing plant in South Carolina and its mining division planning to buy the mining services business of South Africa's Eqstra Holdings, the company seems to be continuing its long-term growth strategy.
But put today's move in perspective. After yesterday's 4% jump, giving back a small piece isn't a big deal. Over the long run, if the economy keeps moving up, then Caterpillar looks poised to take maximum advantage of it.
Tomorrow is another day
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