The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) is moving lower today. As of 12:30 p.m. EDT, the index is down 17.70 points, or 0.13%, to 13,560. After last week ended with a four-day winning streak, this week has been mixed -- up for half the day and down the next, or vice versa, with no major market moving news. Of the 30 components that form the Dow, 16 are currently trading lower. Three of the biggest movers are Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) , and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) .
So why are they down?
First, the largest banking employer in the U.S. will change hands by the end of the year. Bank of America is planning to reduce its workforce by 16,000 employees in an attempt to make up for lost revenue. The economy, market conditions, and new regulations have been cited as reasons for the bank's declining income. Bank of America is currently down by 0.81%, and fellow Dow banking stock JPMorgan is lower by 0.87%.
Aluminum producer Alcoa is down by 2.22%. The Italian government has been notified that two more groups are interested in Alcoa's Sardinian plant. The plant, which has threatened to close and put 500 workers out of a job, has now attracted six potential buyers. The number of buyers could be indicating that Alcoa is making a mistake in selling the plant or that the price is way to low. While investors are beating up the stock today, the number of interested parties in the plant could help bring a higher price if a bidding war begins.
Finally, Caterpillar is inching downward, now 1.46% lower for the session. New fears of a global slowdown are again the cause for the slide. Data from China, Japan, and Europe all point to the world economy contracting. A Chinese manufacturing survey shows the industry has now shrunk 11 straight months, and European services and manufacturing are now at a 39-month low. Furthermore, exports from Japan have also seen declines in August.
With more signs that the global economy is slowing, investors may be better off staying put and letting the market make its move. Those already holding companies like Caterpillar, Alcoa, and even the banks shouldn't sell, but they should also wait for lower prices before buying new shares. The good news is that is we are in for a major economic slowdown, Alcoa and Bank of America are shedding costs and assets at a time when public uproar and sale prices will not hurt either company. Only time will tell whether these moves pay off in the future. But for now, check out this premium research report, which goes through all of the key opportunities and risks facing Bank of America. It also comes with a full year of free updates. Click here to claim your investing edge.