The Dow Makes It 8 Drops in 9 Days

The macroeconomic picture sang the same old song today, and investors responded by doing the same downward dance. Today's version had more signs of slower growth in China, along with continuing problems in Greece, combining to send markets stumbling once more. The bond market was the big outlier, posting price gains that pulled the 10-Year Treasury Yield (INDEX: ^TNX  ) down to 1.79%. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) finished down for the eighth time in nine sessions, partially cutting its losses from earlier in the day but still finishing down almost 1%.

On the downside, the financial sector of the Dow was the hardest hit, as Fool analyst Ilan Moscovitz discussed earlier. Yet with 27 out of 30 Dow stocks falling today, financials certainly weren't the only stock to feel the hurt today. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) fell 2% today, as the slaughter in commodities prices continued, calling into question the company's push into mining equipment. Yet some see great long-term value after the stock's decline, including industrials analyst Brendan Byrnes, who detailed his bullish argument on Caterpillar in a conversation on the Fool this afternoon.

But just as we saw on Friday, a couple of stocks managed to climb despite the downdraft. Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) was the big winner on the day, rising more than 1%. Fool contributor Brian Pacampara highlighted the stock in today's feature on top turnaround stocks, which pointed to the tech giant's challenge to work through an environment in which spending on technology has been weak. With Cisco's particular exposure to government customers, any comeback will take a while -- and it's important to realize that today's gains pale in comparison with the nearly 20% drop the shares have suffered since the end of April.

Merck (NYSE: MRK  ) was the other gainer on the day, rising about half a percent. The drugmaker didn't have any specific news today, but last week, the company won an important lawsuit in Australia, as the country's high court rejected an appeal request from a law firm working on behalf of plaintiffs who took Vioxx. With Merck having set aside $4.85 billion in a settlement fund five years ago for U.S.-based claims, initial signs that it may not have to take similar action in Australia was an unquestionably positive sign.

Looking for relief
Dow investors are getting tired of losses day after day, but the cure is to take a step back and think about how you can pick up bargains as shares get cheaper. The Motley Fool's special report on long-term investing could give you exactly the perspective you need in a rocky market. Inside, you'll find three promising stocks you can hold for the long haul. Get your free report today!

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cisco Systems. 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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