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But even the smoothest slab of polished steel looks like a craggy mountainside under a microscope. And so does the Dow: There are always forces pushing and pulling the index to and fro, even on a placid day like this.
This time, we have consumer-facing companies adding value while some of the infrastructure guys are holding the Dow back.
Kraft Foods (Nasdaq: KFT ) gained 1.5% and boosted the Dow by five points. The stock will fall off the premier market index next week, replaced by health insurance firm UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH ) . Today's jump comes from positive analyst comments on Kraft's rock-solid dividend policy, and it may be the company's last hurrah on behalf of the Dow.
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) also added five points to the index value with a 0.8% price jump. The fast-food giant is introducing a new line of healthier foods, along with nutrition information front and center on its menus, and analysts are lovin' it.
The biggest loser had nothing to do with diet and exercise programs today. United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) slashed seven points off the Dow with a 1.2% price drop. The maker of aerospace and construction equipment didn't have any terrible news to share, but investors may be taking some profit after a market-beating three-month run.