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It was another topsy-turvy day for the markets Tuesday, as stocks struggled to find direction. After being down as much as 50 points and up as much 75, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) basically split the difference and ended the day with a 32-point gain.
But there was strong division among the 30 Dow components in terms of direction. Although several stocks made strong gains of 1% or more, there were also several substantial losers even on an up day.
Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT ) was the biggest loser in the Dow, falling more than 2%. No company-specific news appears to account for the drop, but several other of Kraft's peers in the food industry also suffered losses today. For Kraft, however, the company really needs to move forward with its planned split for investors to have a firmer grasp of what lies ahead for both halves of the business.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) dropped almost 1%. With Google now expected to add its own tablet to the growing number of competitors in the space, HP has to see a threat to its hardware business. Yet at the same time, HP has already acknowledged that the key to its future success lies beyond hardware, so perhaps Google's announcement will only add fuel to its fire in developing other company initiatives.
Finally, DuPont (NYSE: DD ) also lost close to 1% today after rival Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW ) had its stock downgraded. Dow fell much further, almost 3%. But with the analyst arguing that Dow is the most expensive company in its group, it makes sense that the lower-multiple DuPont wouldn't drop as much. Global economic concerns could hit the chemical industry, but with a healthy dividend and cheap valuation, DuPont appears to have a big margin of safety.
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