3 Stocks Pushing Down the Dow Today

There was good and bad news today, and as a result the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) barely moved, down just 0.17% after crossing zero 48 times today. On the good side, the Case-Shiller House Price Index reported an increase and is another sign that housing is recovering. On the bad, a consumer confidence report fell unexpectedly because of less optimism for future business conditions. This left 10 Dow components up and one unchanged, while the rest fell for the day.

The largest loser today was Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , down 1.8%. The stock has had a rough past week, leading the stock to lose more than 13% after a poor earnings report. Revenue fell 5% over the past year, while its personal-computer segment lost 10% of sales compared with the year prior. HP CEO Meg Whitman still has a lot of work ahead to right the company and gain more investor confidence.

Also losing today, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) shares shed 1.3%. This comes after a report from Coalition Index, which measures the performance of several global banks, found total revenue dropped 7.5% for the first half of the year. A small part of future revenues are also at stake, as Bank of America is dropping its credit protection service under pressure from regulators. On the other hand, investors seemed to ignore that The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. bank profits rose more than 20% for the second quarter of the year.

Rounding out the top three losers, Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) fell a little more than 0.7%. A lawsuit was filed against the company for allegedly wasting assets when it failed to make sure incentive plans and board compensation were tax-deductible. Shareholders have seen Caterpillar's stock fall over 25% from its highs this year because of macroeconomic concerns, but this drop may be a great time to buy in to this market-leading construction equipment maker.

Thinking long-term
Even though the Dow has lost six of the past seven trading days, it remains up more than 7% for the year. And while stocks will have day-to-day ups and downs on every bit of news, long-term investors should focus on business fundamentals and future prospects. For reports that go into these nitty-gritty details of management, risks, and must-watch areas for the future, check out our research on Bank of America and Caterpillar.

Fool contributor Dan Newman does not hold shares of any of the above companies. Follow him on Twitter, @TMFHelloNewman. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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