August 22, 2012
At the halfway point of the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) was down 77 points (or 0.11%) to 13,127. That's 15 points below the one-year high of 13,338, which was set yesterday.
There was just one announcement of economic data this morning, though the Federal Open Market Committee's minutes are set to be released at 2 p.m., and that has the potential to move the market. This morning the National Association of Realtors reported existing-home sales rose 2.3% to a seasonally adjusted 4.47 million last month, with the median price rising nearly 10% to $187,300, and inventories rising 1.3% to 2.4 million. That's slightly below analyst expectations and a slowdown from earlier in the year. The big reason stocks are down is due to fears of slowing growth around the world, as both Japanese and European markets fell over 1%.
Stocks as a whole were down, but a few are defying the downward move.
Today's top 3
- One of the few Dow stocks that isn't down today is Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) , up 0.51% (or $0.29) to $56.61. The company reported strong earnings last week and hit a 52-week high last Friday of $57.18. Home Depot has been benefiting from strength in homebuilders. America's largest homebuilder, D.R. Horton, reported net sales were up 25% in the third quarter. Fool analyst Sean Williams believes shares of Home Depot could head even higher. Click here to read his analysis.
- Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) is up 0.38% (or $0.27) to $71.71. The retailing behemoth posted its Q2 earnings last week, which missed analysts' expectations on sales growth but slightly beat on earnings per share. Same-stores sales were up 2.2% versus expectations of 2.7% growth. Earnings per share were a penny above expectations of $1.17. With the mixed numbers -- and consumers hurting -- Fool analyst Austin Smith believes Wal-Mart is overrated and there are better places for your money. Click here to find out more.
- Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) is up 0.30% [or $0.02] to $8.21. The bank walloped earnings expectations last Tuesday by 20%, with earnings of $0.19 versus expectations of $0.16. However, revenue was only $22.2 billion, lower than what analysts had forecast. Bank of America and other large banks are facing strong headwinds and investors are slowly dumping their shares. Fool analyst Amanda Alix wrote about some of the challenges. You can read her take here.
The best approach
Watching the broad market each day is exciting, but investing doesn't have to be gut-wrenching and stressful. If you're in the mood to pick up some solid buys for the long term, The Motley Fool has created a brand-new free report that focuses on three Dow stocks with both promising growth prospects and strong dividends. It can be yours, absolutely free -- just click here.