After yesterday's poor performance by the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Index: ^DJI), in which it fell more than 128 points, today the index has started off much better. As of 12:30 p.m. EDT the Dow sits at 13,376, up more than 31 points, or 0.2%. The main driver of the market today is the positive jobs number. Today the U.S. Department of Labor released last week's initial jobless claims, which fell to the lowest level in more than four years.
While the Dow is essentially split for the day, with 16 components trading higher and 14 moving lower, three stocks are sinking by more than 1%: Home Depot (NYSE: HD), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), and AT&T (NYSE: T).
So why are they down?
Downgrades! Home Depot is sliding lower by 1.07% after the company saw its stock ratings reduced by experts. Yesterday analysts at Oppenheimer lowered Home Depot from "Outperform" to "Perform." The price target was also changed from $61 to $67 a share. Home Depot has been on quite the run this year, up 40% year to date. This downgrade should not scare any current shareholders away.
Verizon and AT&T are falling by 1.38% and 1.41%, respectively. The drops come as competition in the wireless-services market looks set to heat up. Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) is said to be in discussion with Softbank, the No. 3 wireless cellular provider in Japan. If the deal is completed, it will help Sprint fight for market share: Softbanks has a healthy balance sheet, while Sprint is currently weighed down in debt. Both AT&T and Verizon have huge leads over Sprint in terms of market share. While this deal will make Sprint stronger and more of a competitor, the market is still dominated by just two companies.
Neither Matt Thalman nor The Motley Fool owns shares of any company mentioned above. 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.