Why the Dow's Standing Still This Morning

Last week, big news from Europe and China made stock investors push the pedal to the metal. This week, bullish investors are hoping for more of the same, this time from the Federal Reserve as it considers whether to take further measures to support the economy. With less than two months to go before the presidential election, many investors think the Fed will hesitate to make what could be seen as a political statement, but weakness in the latest job numbers may force the Fed's hand. In any event, the markets are once more in wait-and-see mode, with the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) hovering just below breakeven at around 10:45 a.m. EDT.

Once more, though, some Dow stocks were anything but static. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (INDEX: ^IXIC  ) was down half a percent, with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) falling more than 3% to its worst levels of 2012 as shareholders continue to respond to the chip giant's guidance cut on Friday. As Fool tech analyst Evan Niu observed over the weekend, even though Intel tried to emphasize that it's meeting expectations with its data center segment, the core PC business still makes up nearly two-thirds of sales. Intel will need to make the transition away from PCs more quickly if it wants to avoid the fallout of falling PC demand.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) also fell more than 2%. A report from The Wall Street Journal focused on its ongoing negotiations with its union engineers. With current contracts with engineers expiring in early October, Boeing desperately needs to keep its labor situation from creating any further manufacturing delays. Union leaders aren't entirely optimistic, however, and some have pushed aggressively toward a quick resolution with threats of a strike vote in the case negotiations don't improve.

Finally, Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) rose almost 2% on news that a Swiss group may want to buy Alcoa's Sardinian smelter plant in Italy. The plant has been a symbol of the poor conditions in the aluminum market around the world, and divesting it could help the aluminum giant focus on building its core business back up.

Keep movin' on
Even when the markets look quiet, it's essential to keep watching individual stocks and the way they move. With Intel, the strategic challenges it's facing right now could make or break the stock's long-term destiny. Find out more about what the semiconductor giant is facing by reading the Fool's new premium research report on Intel, which includes a year of free updates covering all its future news. Click here now to get started.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. 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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