Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Why the Dow's All Over the Map Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) swerved back and forth this morning, and the afternoon session hasn't brought any stability to today's trading. Let's take a look at why the Dow is down four points as of 2:25 p.m. EDT and experiencing a bumpy ride.

In good news for the Dow, a survey by ADP showed a gain of 162,000 jobs in the private sector for September -- a decline from August but ahead of expectations. The economic boost continued with the service sector, which the Institute for Supply Management said reached its best growth rate since March. Given that a significant majority of jobs in the private sphere stem from the service sector, the report came as a welcome jolt of optimism for an uncertain economy. No doubt tonight's looming presidential debate -- where jobs are certain to be a hot topic -- will weigh heavily on the Dow.

Individual Dow stocks traded mostly higher today with a few exceptions. Tech staple Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) has plummeted more than 9% after CEO Meg Whitman expressed expectations of continued falling earnings next year at an analyst meeting. Whitman's sentiments certainly won't make HP shareholders smile anytime soon, and her predictions that the company may not experience significant growth until 2015 seem like a harbinger for investor headaches ahead. With competitors such as Apple and Google entrenched in the promising mobile-computing market, Whitman will have a tough time bringing HP back to the top.

Energy giants Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) have also nosed slightly down as oil futures dipped below $90 a barrel. A rising dollar certainly didn't help oil, but shares of the commodity also fell on news of sluggish service-sector growth in China, no doubt complemented by ongoing fears of Middle East instability. Oil has ignored a positive report from the Energy Information Administration that showed a decline in crude supply, taking shares of Chevon and Exxon down 1.1% and 0.3%, respectively.

In more positive news, Disney, Bank of America, and Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) have led Dow companies today, with each reaching gains of more than 1%. Bank of America topped a Dow financial sector that rose across the board on the ADP jobs report. Home Depot and Disney likely also rose on the report, given that both companies flourish on increased consumer spending -- a trend certainly helped by job creation.

The Dow’s rocky road today is an example of why you need to have the right information to beat the Street for the long-term. For the standout factors you need to know on the Dow’s strongest long-term bets, check out The Fool's free special guide to "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need."

Fool contributor Dan Carroll holds no positions in the stocks mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Exxon Mobil and Walt Disney. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chevron and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not 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.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2042560, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/22/2016 8:01:48 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 10 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:47 PM
^DJI $18145.71 Down -16.64 -0.09%
CVX $101.30 Down -0.57 -0.56%
Chevron CAPS Rating: ****
DIS $93.03 Up +1.00 +1.09%
Walt Disney CAPS Rating: *****
HPQ $13.80 Down -0.30 -2.13%
HP CAPS Rating: ***
XOM $86.62 Down -0.59 -0.68%
ExxonMobil CAPS Rating: ****