Why Spain's Spark Didn't Ignite the Dow

Coming into this morning, investors looked pretty optimistic about the stock market's prospects. With Spain's move over the weekend to ask its European peers for up to 100 billion euros to help shore up its banking system, stock markets around the world soared, and the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) rose nearly 100 points out of the gate. But as Banco Santander (NYSE: STD  ) gave up its sizable gains pending more details about how exactly the bailout will work, investors apparently turned their attention to Greek elections this weekend, and U.S. stocks gave up their gains. At around 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow was down 14 points to 12,540.

Some Dow stocks kept decent gains. ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) and Chevron both rose about 0.5%, as OPEC's ministers meet to discuss the recent drop in oil prices. With some countries highly concerned about the 20% plunge in crude, any steps the cartel takes to rein in supply could boost the oil giants' prospects going forward.

Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) hit a new 52-week high this morning despite getting a downgrade from analyst Caris & Company. Investors seem reconciled to the volatile results that the company's movie business has, with flops followed by blockbusters. But its core media and theme park businesses provide ballast against those swings, helping long-term investors stay the course more comfortably.

But General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) fell slightly after reports that the company is considering a big reduction in its GE Capital division. The Wall Street Journal said that GE might cut down about a sixth of the unit's loan portfolio by selling off some of its consumer-oriented businesses. The move would go further toward eliminating concerns about GE having allowed its financial business to overwhelm its industrial units during the financial crisis.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chevron and Walt Disney. 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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