Why the Dow's Biding Its Time This Morning

During tough times, when the Federal Reserve gets set to speak, investors tend to stop what they're doing and listen. That's why, even with concerns continuing about bond yields in Spain and Italy and their potential impact on the European crisis, investors are squarely focused on the Fed and the possibility of even further measures toward easing monetary policy to support the U.S. economy. With the Fed announcement and follow-up press conference not coming until this afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) are down just 11 points at 10:45 a.m. EDT, with other indexes seeing similarly minor moves.

Looking more closely at Dow stocks, though, not everything is quiet. Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) plunged more than 3% after issuing an earnings warning for the current quarter. P&G shaved $0.04 to $0.06 per share off its range of fiscal fourth-quarter earnings guidance and reversed earlier guidance for a small gain in revenue, instead projecting a 1% to 2% sales drop. A single-quarter drop wouldn't be a huge concern, but investors may fear that the move has longer-term implications, given the cost challenges that P&G has faced recently.

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) , however, rose more than 2% after getting an upgrade from BMO Capital. The analyst cited valuation, growth in free cash flow, and strong potential in its data center business as it reaffirmed its ability to ward off competitors Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) and Juniper Networks with its core products.

Finally, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) was the biggest gainer in the Dow, rising 2.5% on reports that the company has largely exited its trade-gone-wrong that caused at least $2 billion in losses for the bank. If reports that JPMorgan has sold roughly two-thirds of its hedging strategy position are correct, then it could reassure investors that the worst is behind the company. JPMorgan will share more details next month in its quarterly earnings report.

Keep your eyes open
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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 JPMorgan Chase and Cisco Systems. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble. 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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