What's Keeping the Dow Down Today?

Following Friday's horrible losses, investors had hopes for the Dow Jones Industrial Average  (INDEX: ^DJI  ) to rebound today, starting a fresh week in the green. It hasn't really worked out that way so far, as the index has fallen 82 points, or 0.6%, to keep up the recent bearish trend as of 2:15 p.m. EDT. While the economy hasn't hit the market with any news today, renewed jitters over earnings season have investors on edge for further dramatic losses. Most stocks haven't gotten out of the red so far today, but let's see who's managing to keep their heads above water so far in trading.

Beacons of optimism
Manufacturing giant Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) reported earnings that beat estimates, propelling its stock higher by 1% so far today despite missing on revenue and cutting its guidance for the rest of the year. A shaky economy, particularly in Europe and China, has the entire manufacturing sector on edge, leading to the company's reduced guidance. Caterpillar's further conservative guidance in 2013 suggests a lack of optimism that the global economy will improve anytime soon.

Caterpillar ranked among today's leaders, but Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) has topped the Dow for much of the day, rising 0.6% so far. The financial stock has been on a tear this year, picking up more than 40% over the last 52 weeks. It gained today despite a miss from fellow bank SunTrust Financial (NYSE: STI  ) . Renewed faith in the housing recovery has sparked Bank of America and much of the financial sector recently, and further good housing news could send this stock to even greater heights for the year.

In the red again
It's hard to pick a specific sector doing poorly today, but a few stocks have fallen notably. General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) has fallen 3.1% so far today to lead all Dow laggards. The economic outlook certainly isn't helping this diversified giant, which was further dragged down on Friday after the company missed revenue expectations for the quarter. however, the stock's fall from its recent 52-week highs could signal a great time to buy such a consistent company.

Bank of America's fellow Dow financials aren't helping the index out, either. Both JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) and American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) have fallen to rank among the leading Dow losers on the day so far, dropping 1.6% and 0.9%, respectively. Unlike investors of B of A, shareholders of these two stocks reacted rather pessimistically to the SunTrust earnings miss.

What's next?
You'll need to keep your eyes open for the end of the week, as the Dow's Friday fate will hinge on the release of GDP numbers expected to climb half a percentage point from the prior quarter's measly 1.3% growth. Until then, expect the Dow to keep riding the earnings rollercoaster -- for better or for worse.

GE's recent drops signal an opportunity for bullish investors to grab one of the steadiest stock on the Dow. However, is this really the time to buy, or should you anticipate further days in the red from this stock? To help guide your decision, we're offering comprehensive coverage for investors in a premium report on General Electric, in which our industrials analyst breaks down GE's multiple businesses. You'll find reasons to buy or sell GE, and you'll receive continuing updates as major events unfold during the next 12 months. To get started, click here now.

Dan Carroll has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, General Electric Company, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Dan Carroll has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, General Electric Company, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend American Express Company. 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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