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Early today, it looked as if stocks were headed for another rout. But as has happened so many times during the rally over the past few months, the market reversed a loss of nearly 100 points during the morning hours to finish nearly flat. After the dust cleared, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) actually closed up 20 points to 13,146. Most other market averages were lower but finished well off their lows for the day.
Still, the Dow's bungee-cord performance couldn't lift all of its component stocks. Let's look at three Dow stocks that lost ground today.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , down 2.4%
Lately, you've been able to count on big banks like B of A to be bellwethers of the overall economic environment. That's probably what's behind the bank's move downward today, as fears about Europe and a possible end to the tepid economic expansion weigh on Investor sentiment.
But B of A actually got good news today. A New York court dismissed a lawsuit asking the bank to repurchase more than $1 billion in mortgage securities linked to its Countrywide unit. B of A is already seeking court approval of a settlement that would send $8.5 billion to investors who lost money on Countrywide securities. The faster B of A can put the financial crisis behind it, the better off it'll be.
American Express (NYSE: AXP ) , down 2%
American Express fell prey to a typical Wall Street trap: a downgrade. Wells Fargo downgraded the charge-card company this morning, arguing that the stock has limited upside potential from here. Yet strangely enough, the company also raised its price target for AmEx to between $60 and $64.
AmEx is benefiting from improved credit conditions and is preparing itself for the mobile-payment revolution. With a brand that has largely avoided the scorn that Wall Street banks have suffered, AmEx could well be a success story in the financial realm in the coming years.
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) , down 1.2%
Apart from a bomb at the box office, Disney has been riding high lately. But the company faces a huge new threat from rival News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS ) in the form of a rival sports network.
Going up against Disney's ESPN, a Fox-branded national sports network could help News Corp. reverse negative sentiment following its phone-tapping scandal. With the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise for a whopping $2 billion, it's clear that TV sports has huge value -- and Disney needs to defend its highly lucrative turf to maximize that value for shareholders.
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