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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) was fighting for a win today, and as the closing bell rang, the index managed to get it by 5 points or 0.04%. With the Dow now at 13,557, and on a three-day winning streak, investors have a lot to be happy about. Investors are currently distracted from the global economic fears and more focused on individual companies as they report third-quarter earnings.
Only seven of the Dow's 30 components finished the trading session in the red, the three biggest losers today were IBM (NYSE: IBM ) , Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) , and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH ) ; find out why they moved lower today by clicking here. Or stick with me to find out why Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO ) , Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) , and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) moved lower today.
So why are they down?
Cisco moved lower today by 0.78% after Cantor Fitzgerald lowered the company's stock. The rating changed from "buy" to "hold," with the price target dropping from $20.50 per share to $19.50. The analyst believes the company's "recovery thesis" may take "another one to two quarters" to occur. Find out more about this downgrade and a few others by clicking here.
Bank of America had an off day, with shares losing 0.21% of their value. The company announced earnings this morning, and the quick takeaway is that the bank earned a measly $340 million on $20.7 billion in revenue. Compare that with the $6.2 billion it earned on $28.7 billion in revenue during the same quarter last year. John Maxfield breaks down the full earnings report here.
The Golden Arches lost 0.44% today. McDonald's is set to announce earnings on Oct. 19, and the drop today may be due to investors who are taking money off the table before that report. Analysts are estimating per-share profit of $1.47, which is higher than the $1.45 the company posted last year during the third quarter. Projections have already been cut from $1.54 per share, and if the fast-food chain misses the revised estimates, shares will probably tank.
Finally, Coca-Cola rounds out the seven losers for the day. Shares slid lower by 0.42%. While Coke announced earnings yesterday that missed expectations, its rival PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP ) announced third-quarter results today that beat analysts' figures. Both companies saw revenue drop this year compared with last year's third quarter, and both expect full-year earnings to be lower than 2011's.
The old saying that investors love repeating, "buy low, sell high,'" is a good rule of thumb. One way you can follow this rule is to buy solid companies when their share prices dip on bad news. When the market gives you an opening to buy good companies on the cheap, you would be crazy not to take it. The only question: Is a drop a good opportunity, or a sign of worse things to come? Find out whether Bank of America is a buy on today's move lower, simply by clicking here.