Ups and Downs: Why the Dow Trades Sideways Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is a mixed bag today. There's a handful of big winners and a bushel of big losers, and the index trades roughly flat when all is said and done.

Of course, that's actually a good day when you hold it up against the rash of huge drops we've seen lately. This 0.07% rise gives rattled investors' nerves a break from all the excitement, if nothing else.

But like I said, some companies seem to have missed the memo about settling down today. I'm looking at you, Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) !

The two tech giants were the Dow's biggest losers at midday, down 3.3% and 0.6%, respectively, at 2:10 p.m. EDT. Networking expert Cisco didn't exactly do anything wrong, but rival Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR  ) plunged as much as 8.5% on a decent earnings report with a side of gloomy forward guidance. Juniper's pessimistic reading of the market reflects poorly on the networking sector in general.

What's HP's cardinal sin, then? You can blame a lack of commitment to the mobile market. CEO Meg Whitman just gave a presentation at the Gartner IT Expo. She said HP would eventually have to get into the smartphone arena, but she also warned that no such product would appear in 2012 or 2013. Moreover, she promised to stay in the PC market even if it looks deathly ill nowadays. Investors are hating every word of it. I can't say that Whitman made me believe in a turnaround here, either.

I hate to leave on such a sour note, so let's have a look at the flip side of the Dow coin, too.

Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) is the biggest gainer right now. Its 1.3% jump edged out Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) by a rounding error. United rose on strong earnings, Pfizer got regulatory approval for a new lung cancer drug in Europe, and P&G is up despite Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B  ) guru Warren Buffett reducing his holdings in the consumer-products veteran.

The market works in mysterious ways sometimes.

Once a high-flying tech darling, Cisco is now on the radar of value-oriented dividend lovers. Get the lowdown on the routing juggernaut in our premium report. Our report also has you covered with a full year of free analyst updates to keep you informed as the story changes, so click here now to read more.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Check out Anders' bio and holdings, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Berkshire Hathaway and The Procter & Gamble 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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