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Today was another up and down day for the stock market, and this time, the pessimists won out. With some troubling economic data on U.S. retail sales and producer prices, the threat of another dip down into recession is still on the table. Europe also remains a factor, with investors desperately hoping for some resolution from the scheduled elections in Greece this weekend. In all likelihood, though, it'll take a lot longer than a few days to figure out the future of the global economy, and so it's no surprise that the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) ended up falling 79 points to close below 12,500.
In some recent losing sessions, it's been hard to find any Dow stocks that bucked the trend. But today, several winners emerged from the fray. Leading the gainers was Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) , which rose more than 2% after getting a rash of good news. Analyst upgrades followed a couple of key events: positive results for its canagliflozin diabetes treatment, along with a restructured buyout offer for Swiss medical-device company Synthes that avoided what could have been a dilutive secondary stock offering and will help the company save on U.S. taxes.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) was also strong, finishing up more than 1.5%. Investors seemed quite satisfied with the performance of CEO Jamie Dimon in his Congressional testimony today, as he was able to make extended comments about bank regulation generally rather than solely getting mired in comments about the company's losses from bungled trades. The bigger question for shareholders should be how long the bank keeps its buybacks suspended pending the trade's final resolution.
Finally, McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) rose about 0.5% despite getting downgraded by Goldman Sachs. Goldman argues that despite McDonald's leadership role in the industry, concerns about the pace of growth in Asia and the U.S. as well as headwinds from Europe could hold the stock back. The stock has already dropped more than 10% since its highs near the beginning of the year after a big run caused shares to nearly double since early 2009, so a pause for McDonald's isn't completely unreasonable.
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