Why's the Dow's Looking Sick This Morning

After worrying for months about global economic trends, investors focused their attention this morning on one thing: the Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of the health care act. Stock markets opened lower and continued downward on reports that the Court had upheld the key parts of the laws, including the controversial individual mandate provisions. Slightly before 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) was down more than 155 points.

Among health-care stocks in the Dow, both Merck (NYSE: MRK  ) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) were moderately lower, both falling roughly half a percent. The Supreme Court decision has implications throughout the health-care industry, including pharmaceutical companies. As Fool health-care analyst Brian Orelli pointed out yesterday, neither company is likely to halt increases in drug costs, regardless of the extent of federally mandated health-insurance coverage. In the long run, it'll likely be up to insurance companies to try to rein in those costs over time.

Meanwhile,JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) plunged more than 3.5%. A report from The New York Times said that the bank's trading losses could come in at a whopping $9 billion, much higher than the $2 billion to $3 billion that most investors were expecting. If losses prove this big when the bank reports its actual figures on July 13, it could be a big blow to CEO Jamie Dimon, especially in light of his testimony before Congress earlier this month.

Finally, Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) fell about 0.2%. The company will support attempts from the Obama administration to ratify a 30-year-old treaty governing oceans around the globe. With Verizon's interest in maintaining its undersea cables, it makes sense for the company to want certainty and stability in its maritime operations.

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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. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Pfizer. 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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  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2012, at 11:05 AM, NEMnyWtch wrote:

    I believe this is a game changer, and that the recent "rally fever" was, in great part, due to the expectation that this bill would be struck down.

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