Why the Dow's Sitting Flat Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) has been strangely flat today. It sits down 34 points, or 0.25%, as of 2 p.m. EDT. Stocks haven't reacted to good news out of the housing front, and even with earnings season in high gear this week, the Dow looks to sleepily continue its bland day. One sector in particular has fallen off a cliff, however -- and one Dow icon in particular has seen its shares crushed so far.

Most are up, but the Dow's still flat
The U.S. Department of Commerce released some great news earlier today when it reported that new housing starts for September reached their highest levels since July 2008. Home improvement stocks certainly liked that statistic: Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) has risen 0.6% so far on the day. Financials didn't seem so optimistic about the news: While JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) received a boost mainly due to confidence in Citi's ouster of its CEO yesterday, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) has inched down by a fraction of a percent so far today. B of A's quarterly earnings probably didn't help, as the bank missed revenue expectations despite already low analyst estimates.

Manufacturers have also had a good day so far. Both Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) and conglomerate United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) have jumped more than 1.4% apiece, likely on the renewed confidence in recovering homebuilding. Tech stocks, on the other hand, have been almost entirely responsible for a lack of movement on the Dow, with two big disappointments keeping the index at large down.

IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) , as the most expensive stock on the price-weighted Dow, hasn't helped things at all by plunging more than 5.5% on the day so far. While IBM grew net and gross margins and hit EPS expectations, the company's miss on revenue and failure to raise guidance for the rest of the year have sent shares to the Dow doghouse. However, given that analysts as a whole rate IBM to outperform, according to S&P Capital IQ, this could be a good time to pick up a solid company on a dip.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) hasn't held up its shares today, either, as the tech giant has slumped nearly 3% and hit a new 52-week low. Investors have slowly backed away from the PC market recently, and Intel's earnings certainly won't help reverse that trend: Company profit fell 14%, and revenue declined by more than $500 million from last quarter.

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Dan Carroll has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, International Business Machines, Intel, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Intel and The Home Depot. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On October 17, 2012, at 2:49 PM, DivingDan wrote:

    It's flat because?? The amount of stocks being bought is roughly equal the the amount being sold? Does there have to be some underlying reason?

  • Report this Comment On October 17, 2012, at 4:30 PM, Rwoodland1962 wrote:

    Where do you expect Home Depot to hit within the next 12 months with the news of the housing industry starting to rebound

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