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Sometimes, portions of the stock market seem to be moving in different directions. Today was a good example, where the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained nearly half a percent, and the broader S&P managed to eke out a smaller gain. But when you turn to the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) , you get a less rosy picture, as the average actually dropped seven points today. Data showing no inflation threat didn't overcome investor fears about future earnings and the state of the global economy.
Several Dow stocks did their part to hold the average back today. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) dropped about 0.8% after Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B ) announced that it had sold off its stake in the chipmaker during the previous quarter. The news is somewhat surprising, given that as recently as late last year, Warren Buffett's company had been adding to its stake in Intel. One answer may come from the fact that heir-apparent Todd Combs was behind the initial purchase of Intel.
Another victim of Buffett-cutting was Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT ) , which fell about half a percent. Renowned investor Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square hedge fund also sold off its substantial stake in the food giant. As the company's split into two parts gets closer, you can expect to see more investors making decisions about whether to hang on to the stock.
Finally, Merck (NYSE: MRK ) fell about 0.8%. Although the company didn't have any apparent news to account for the drop, some analysts remain concerned about the prospects for pharmaceutical stocks. With heavy patent cliffs and pressure to cut health-care spending around the world, Merck will have to outcompete its rivals to preserve its share of a shrinking pie.
Get back up
The Dow didn't go anywhere today, but that doesn't mean it's stuck in the doldrums forever. The right stocks can get you moving in the right direction over the long haul. Find out about three of them in The Motley Fool's special report on the Dow, which clues you in on three Dow stocks with fast growth as well as dividend strength. The report is absolutely free, so get your copy today.
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