Early on, it seemed like the market might finally take a break from its long run of declines. Yet in the end, fears about the viability of the euro and the impact that European chaos would have on the global economy pulled the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) lower for the ninth time in 10 sessions. Commodities like gold and oil fell again, while the dollar gained strength and bonds saw price gains once more.
Amid the carnage, though, several stocks stood out with particularly bad performances today. Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) was down 2.3% despite getting a bit of good news from the Brazilian government. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff wants to cut taxes for companies that generate and distribute electricity, which should in turn bring electricity prices down. Given that Alcoa has threatened to close production plants in Brazil as a cost-cutting measure, the move will hopefully give the aluminum producer some relief for a major component of its cost structure.
If you're still reeling from filing your tax returns last month, you can imagine how Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) feels. The company lost a Tax Court case against the IRS involving a strategy designed by AIG (NYSE: AIG ) to generate foreign tax credits that HP and other companies could use to save on their U.S. tax bills. HP was seeking more than $190 million in refunds, but the decision upheld the IRS's contention that the transactions involved had no economic substance and were designed only for tax avoidance.
Finally, Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) fell after a report of its first-quarter results disappointed investors. Although net income rose 27.5% and U.S. same-store sales jumped 6.1% thanks in large part to warm weather, revenue and profit margins both came in below expectations. Moreover, even after Home Depot raised its full-year outlook from $2.79 per share to $2.90, investors seemed unimpressed. Given a huge run-up recently that sent the stock higher by more than 75% since last August, expectations were high -- and it makes sense that even a reasonably strong showing wasn't enough to produce gains on a down day.
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