Why the Dow's Stuck in the Mud This Morning

Even the stock market seems to take a vacation sometimes. All week long, stocks have moved in a very tight range, as nervous traders seem to be focused entirely on what Friday will bring, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks to central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Still, an upward revision in second-quarter GDP growth to an annual rate of 1.7% and a 2.4% rise in pending home sales in July both bolstered the view that the economy is improving, albeit slowly. Nevertheless, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) have gained just three points as of 10:45 a.m. EDT, with the broader market also close to unchanged.

There were some pretty big movers within the Dow, though. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) fell 1.7%. Fool contributor Evan Niu has speculated that the semiconductor giant might need to cut its earnings guidance soon. Given the recent bad news from fellow Dow component Hewlett-Packard and other computer makers -- and how that news reflects on the entire PC market -- it's hard to imagine that Intel won't suffer at least some impact from PC fallout.

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) also fell sharply, losing 1.5% after mining-equipment competitor Joy Global (NYSE: JOY  ) cut its full-year guidance. Because of Caterpillar's purchase of Bucyrus, it also has exposure to the mining industry, which Joy Global says has been weak due to decelerating Chinese demand.

Finally, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) rose almost 1% despite a Reuters report that said that the bank hasn't completed any of the mortgage modifications called for under the $25 billion settlement that it and other banks made with federal and state officials earlier this year. Reuters points to a B of A filing that said the bank would need more time to modify mortgages.

Get moving again
Getting stuck in the mud is never any fun, but taking the time to figure out your best long-term prospects is always time well spent. The Fool's premium stock reports can give you a lot of the information you need. Whether you're following Intel, Caterpillar, or Bank of America, take a gander and see what our top analysts have uncovered about some of the most influential stocks in the market.

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 Intel, Joy Global, and Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel. 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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