What's Behind the Dow's Triple-Digit Plunge

Apparently, it took an extra day for fears about Europe to make their way over the Atlantic. Although French stock markets had no problem yesterday with the Socialist Party's presidential victory, Greece is getting more attention with its parliament in turmoil. Concerns about whether a possible failure of austerity measures would create a new financial crisis sent the euro below the $1.30 mark. At about 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) were down 165 points, or about 1.3%, dropping well below the 13,000 level.

Among Dow stocks, Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) was down only slightly this morning following yesterday's downgrade of the stock by a Wells Fargo analyst. The entire consumer goods industry has had to deal with raw-material price hikes that have pressured operating margins, but the analyst singled out P&G as not having been able to boost its volume growth even after raising the prices it charges its customers.

AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) were the sole winners in the Dow, both rising by just a few cents. A report from Zacks this morning highlighted the success of LTE 4G technology in the U.S., with 10.5 million subscribers making up the majority of worldwide LTE users. Verizon is ahead of AT&T in incorporating more markets with LTE services, leaving AT&T to play catch-up, but the market is big enough that both stocks should have valuable opportunities going forward.

Finally, IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) was down about 1.5% despite being touted yesterday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a key example of a public-private partnership supporting science and technology. With calls for similar public-private partnerships coming from the president, IBM appears to be leading the way in what could become a bigger trend in the years to come.

It's all Greek to me
The problems in Europe make markets soar one day and swoon the next, but the long-term impact they'll have on stocks around the world is far more important. Start looking at the bigger picture by reading The Motley Fool's special report on long-term investing, where you'll find some useful general investing tips as well as three promising stock names that fit well for many investors saving for retirement and other long-term goals. Click here to get your free report today!

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 IBM and Wells Fargo, and has created a covered strangle position in Wells Fargo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble and Wells Fargo. 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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