Why the Dow's Giving Ground Today

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Even when earnings season goes well, you can't expect every company to produce jaw-dropping results. That's the lesson the markets are learning today, as both IBM and Intel disappointed investors when they released their earnings last night. Some market followers are also citing European concerns about Spain, although this factor has pushed stocks up and down repeatedly as sentiment shifts. At around 2:45 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) were down 59 points to 13,056, while the S&P 500 dropped about 0.2%.

Joining the tech decliners was Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) , which fell more than 1% further today after largely missing out on yesterday's big rally. Even though the company was named as one of the 100 best corporate citizens of 2011 by Forbes, J&J is still reeling from a decline in public perception after numerous recalls and other controversies. It could take a long time for investors to regain confidence in the company, making future gains far less certain.

Also falling was AT&T (NYSE: T  ) , despite news that rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and its Verizon Wireless joint venture plan to sell some of its wireless spectrum. Verizon's hope is that it might get regulators' approval for its deal with Comcast and Time Warner Cable to acquire a wide swath of spectrum if it agrees to the sale. AT&T would be among the logical candidates to pick up spectrum if it's available, although competition could be fierce.

Finally, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) was up slightly. The bank was among eight investment banks that the New York Federal Reserve asked to bid on high-risk assets it obtained in its bailout of AIG during the financial crisis. The Fed branch has already had several auctions to sell similar assets, raising more than $20 billion in the process. B of A's Merrill Lynch division could find profit opportunities among the assets, although the auction process could make big bargains hard to find.

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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 Johnson & Johnson and Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. 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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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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S&P 500 2,090.11 1.24 0.06%
NASD 5,127.53 11.38 0.22%

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