Watch stocks you care about
The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...
Your own personalized stock watchlist!
It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...
If you've been on the sidelines hoping for a chance at getting in on your favorite stocks on the cheap, your chance may be here. After moving nearly straight up for months, the stock market has finally put together a meaningful pullback, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) finishing down for the fifth straight day. With today's 214-point drop, the Dow stands more than 4% below its multiyear high set just five trading sessions ago.
But as bad as the Dow's plunge was today, several companies did worse. Here's a look at some of them.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , down 4.4%
B of A has had a habit of leading the market lately, whether it goes up or down. Today, though, the bank should take a back seat to some of its Spanish counterparts.
Both Banco Santander (NYSE: STD ) and Banco Bilbao are at multiyear lows as concerns rise about the problems in Spain's economy. The Spanish government has had to pay increasingly high interest rates to finance its sovereign debt in recent auctions, reawakening new fears that the solution that helped Greece get past its critical financing moment will have to handle the much larger Spanish economy. Until the European situation gets resolved once and for all, even U.S. banks like Bank of America will have to deal with the consequences.
Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) , down 3%
A company in as economically sensitive an industry as construction and mining equipment should expect volatility when the market is down sharply. But Caterpillar could be among the first companies that will benefit from a better-than-expected earnings report from Alcoa to start off the first-quarter reporting season.
Caterpillar has staked its success not only on continued strength in overseas economies but also on a U.S. recovery. If that works out, then the big run-up in the company's shares will have been completely justified. But any unexpected slowdown could have Caterpillar seeing much bigger losses than the market at large.
General Electric (NYSE: GE ) , down 2.4%
GE also has its share of economic sensitivity. But even when the market pulls it down, the company keeps on finding ways to try to make money.
Today, GE said it will provide 288 turbines for a NextEra Energy subsidiary's wind farm in Ontario. The project, which will provide power to about 120,000 homes, is just part of GE's overarching strategy to build on its renewable-power business -- a business that has a lot of growth potential in the years and decades to come.
Climb back up
Big market plunges give you a chance to get in on the best stocks at cheap prices. Get a shopping list together by looking over The Motley Fool's special report on retirement, where you'll find three promising stock picks for investors looking for long-term opportunity. Get your free report today before it's gone forever.