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With indicators coming out every day announcing a new trajectory for the stock market, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) finally caught a break from the volatility, posting a slight 0.2% gain as of 12:30 p.m. EDT. Economic news still rolled in, but investors did not jump one way or the other. As expected, consumer confidence declined in June for the fourth straight month to 62 from 64.4, according to a morning announcement from the Conference Board. Home prices only fell 1.9% in April compared to expectations of 2.5%, continuing a two-year streak of consecutive monthly gains that indicate a slow, painful recovery. With conflicting indicators, the market's tepid activity demonstrates this uncertainty.
Looking across the pond, European Union president Herman Van Rompuy released a 10-year proposal to smooth the future of the economic and monetary union. Germany, the engine behind the Continent, immediately raised opposition to the plan's emphasis on debt sharing over controlling national budgets, as the country has loudly voiced its request for strict austerity measures for Greece and other countries receiving bailout funds. Germany's protest increases doubts that the European summit set for Thursday and Friday will make much progress on the EU's economic woes.
Dow in focus
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) led the Dow, up 1.53%. Analysts at peer Goldman Sachs added JPMorgan to their "conviction" buy list, maintaining their price target of $42. This announcement comes after a 15% slide since the bank's disclosure of a $2 billion hedging loss and the suspension of its share buyback program in light of these losses. Still, the Goldman Sachs announcement may indicate that shares of JPMorgan are looking cheap.
Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) shares are up 0.32% after the beverage maker disclosed its intent to invest another $3 billion in India. This announcement reflects the company's commitment to the growing country, where Coke's first-quarter volume rose 20% compared to just 2% in North America. As Coke plans to double its revenue over this decade, and undergo a 2-for-1 stock split pending shareholder approval in July, further investment in India seems like a wise move. However, the company will have to contend with PepsiCo's growing influence in India, where the competitor controls 36% of the market share compared to Coke's 56% share.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) continued to underperform, dropping 1.25% after falling more than 4% two of the last three business days. The tech company plans to cut 9,000 U.S. jobs as a part of a global restructuring plan involving a 27,000-employee reduction. Shares have dropped to a new 52-week low, as employment cuts and rising debt mar the company's future prospects.
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