With intensified fears arising over the European debt crisis and an earnings season that most believe will be disappointing getting underway, the markets are losing their will to push forward. On the fifth anniversary of both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) hitting all-time highs, the markets are moving lower, down 0.67% and 0.8%, respectively, as of 12:30 p.m. EDT.
The Dow is currently lower by 94 points, and 24 of the index's components are to blame for the slide. A number of downgrades and one no-show caused some of the drops this morning.
Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) received a new rating of neutral from Piper. The analyst threw a $90 price target on the equipment manufacturer and stated that while the mining segment shows long-term strength, an overhang in 2013 will put pressure on the company. The cat is trading lower by 0.55% on the news.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) was reduced at Goldman Sachs from neutral to sell. Goldman says this is a valuation call and based it on a $72 price target. The analyst further stated that a lack of pipeline catalyst, as well as other concerns, resulted in the downgrade. Johnson and Johnson is off by 1.78%.
Both Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) saw downgrades thrown their way today. Intel was given an underperform rating by Standford Bernstein, and HP was reduced to a sell by Citigroup. Citi's analyst went further, tagging the company with a $13.50 price target and taking a shot at CEO Meg Whitman by saying the company needs clear strategic direction and leadership. Both companies are directly tied to the personal-computer market, which has seen a slowdown in the past few years. Intel is lower by 2.33%, while HP is down 1.2%.
Finally, Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) is trading lower today by 0.61% after no real negative news on the company. One explanation for the drop could be a Wall Street Journal report that activist investor Bill Ackman didn't appear to be in attendance during P&G's annual shareholder meeting today. A report that was released in September stated that Ackman had asked P&G's board to remove the company's CEO, Bob McDonald. While the absence of Ackman at the shareholder meeting is good for McDonald, shareholders may believe Ackman has realized there is not much he can do to help the company prosper and given up his fight.
Analyst upgrades and downgrades are never-ending. While it is good for investors to know what the "pros" are saying, don’t just take the opinion of one person; gather as much information as you can. With that in mind, I would like to offer you an opinion from one of our technology analysts about Intel. In the report you will find a number of key opportunities and risks the company will face in the future. Click here to get a second opinion.