Why the Dow Tanked Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) fell 0.4% today, and it wasn't the usual European culprit that sent stocks southbound today.

Stocks started off on a sour note today on weak U.S. manufacturing news, as the Institute for Supply Management's Purchasing Managers' Index declined for a third straight month in August and reached its lowest level since July 2009. This showing, of course, furthers the notion that the tepid U.S. recovery is losing steam in the second half of the year.

In similar fashion, the S&P 500 dropped 0.1%. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, escaped unscathed, rising 0.3% during today's trading session. In a sign of investor anxiety, the market's so-called "fear gauge," or the VIX (INDEX: ^VIX  ) , spiked nearly 3%. However, several stories drove some stocks to trim their losses late in the session.

Around the markets
Shares of consumer-electronics uberpower Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) rose 1.6% as the company sent out invitations for its highly anticipated event on Sept. 12, which everyone and his mom expects to feature the latest update to its highly popular iPhone series of products – the iPhone 5. The invitation itself effectively tells the viewer Apple's intention:

Not too subtle. Think the number in that shadow is any kind of coincidence? I'll gladly take any bets saying otherwise.

However, Apple wasn't the only prominent storyline that investors should note today. In other tech news, shares of Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) plummeted 6.4% on news that its archrival, Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) , secured a multiyear licensing deal for its Prime service with cable company Epix. This deal will enable the growing e-commerce powerhouse to further compete with Netflix in its bread-and-butter streaming market and will let Prime subscribers access hits such as The Avengers, Iron Man 2, The Hunger Games, Super 8, Thor, and many more. The move also brings Amazon's streaming arsenal to a formidable 25,000. If I were a Netfilx shareholder, I'd be scared, too.

In yet more, albeit probably unsurprising, tech news, shares of social-networking fallen star Facebook dropped 1.8% to close at a new all-time low. Adding insult to injury, Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter in Facebook's now-infamous IPO, sparked today's sell-off after its own research department lowered its price targets on the reeling stock.

Where to go from here
Although we cover the daily moves of the market, we always look to the long term with our stock picks here at the Fool. This month in particular should feature plenty of fresh news for tech investors, and Apple's big news will take center stage. However, we also believe that Apple's a company built for the long term. Our new premium research report on Apple breaks down exactly why, even though it's now the largest publicly traded company in the world, it still holds an astounding amount of opportunity. To wrap your head around the risks and potential rewards behind the Cupertino powerhouse, grab your copy today.

Andrew Tonner owns shares of Apple. You can find Andrew and all his Foolish writing on Twitter at @Andrew Tonner. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, Netflix, Apple, and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon.com, creating a bear put ladder position in Netflix, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. 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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