Why These Dow Stocks Dropped Today

After yesterday's big jump, Tuesday was a disappointment for the stock market. Worries about housing prices, which fell again to their lowest levels in nearly a decade, have many wondering whether the big rally in stocks needs to reverse. Although the stock market traded nearly flat most of the day, it fell late, with the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) closing down 44 points at 13,198.

Let's look at three stocks that contributed to the Dow's losses today.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , down 3.3%
Too-big-to-fail banks have been doing very well this year, and B of A has been the best of the bunch. With the stock having gone from barely over $5 to $10 in the span of just a couple of months, investors have been pleased with its performance.

But today, an analyst from Robert Baird downgraded the stock, despite boosting its earnings expectation for the company by 30%. When a stock almost doubles in price, it reflects sky-high sentiment -- and anything short of that euphoria can throw shares for a loop. Downgrades hit stocks hard in the short run, but for B of A, the bigger question is how it continues to recover as the economy improves.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) , down 1.7%
Verizon has profited greatly from the boom in smartphones, with users needing data plans to make maximum use of their devices. But competition could finally be about to hit the company.

A Bloomberg report cited Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR  ) as providing an alternative network that some companies are using to provide free data to customers. With Verizon and AT&T earning more than $12 billion from data plans last quarter, competition could put pressure on prices. Clearwire's network isn't as extensive as AT&T's or Verizon's, but it could nevertheless have an adverse effect on Verizon's profits going forward.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , down 1.6%
Ordinarily, a bullish Wall Street call is good news for a company. This morning, Stifel Nicolaus boosted its price target on Alcoa from $11 to $13.

But despite Stifel's optimism, Alcoa still faces plenty of long-term challenges. Threats to the global economy's health will weigh on the stock and the entire metal-production industry, especially in problem areas such as Europe. Until the aluminum market stabilizes, Alcoa will be hard-pressed to feel confident about its future prospects.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter. 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.


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