Why the Dow's Taking a Breather This Morning

Coming on the heels of two straight days of strong gains, the stock market apparently decided it was ready for a break. With earnings news coming fast and furious this week, volatility among individual stocks is definitely on the rise. But at least for now, the overall market is pretty quiet, with the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) down just five points as of 10:45 a.m. EDT.

Earnings among Dow stocks continue to dominate the news. IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) plunged more than 4% despite posting earnings last night that were largely in line with analyst expectations. However, revenue came in short of estimates, and the company failed to increase its earnings guidance for the full 2012 fiscal year.

Similarly, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) was down more than 2.5% after it gave some scary projections for the fourth quarter. With revenue likely to fall short and capital spending cut big-time, investors pretty much ignored the fact that the chip maker actually beat earnings estimates when it reported last night. Still, given that the company reduced its guidance last month, coming in at the upper part of the reduced earnings range wasn't all good news.

Not all the news was bad on the earnings front, though. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) rose 0.5% after coming in with a narrow profit despite big payouts from litigation settlements. Given that analysts expected the company to lose money, that's good news, but more important from a long-term perspective will be how B of A's cost-cutting measures go in the coming year.

Finally, Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) fell 1% after a downgrade from Cantor Fitzgerald, which said that a long-expected recovery could be delayed for another quarter or two. Investors have been relatively patient with the networking giant, but the company needs to start delivering if it wants to stand up to challenges from its many competitors.

Sticking with value
Among top tech stocks, Intel has attracted the most attention from value investors seeking a turnaround candidate. But Intel finds itself in a precarious situation with its reliance on the PC market. In our premium research report on Intel, our analyst runs through all the key topics investors need to understand to decide whether Intel is a buy. Better yet, you'll continue to receive updates as news develops for an entire year. Click here now to learn more.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, IBM, and Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Intel. 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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