For the entire morning session, it looked as if the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) was going to give investors a treat by ending the week on a high note. While the index had risen almost 90 points at one point, the Dow promptly has dropped all its gains and currently sits flat, up 7 points as of 2 p.m. Stocks are mixed between risers and losers, although there's little movement on the Dow today as compared to the last few days; only seven stocks are up or down more than 1%. From one big loser to a sector on the rebound, let's see who's up and who's down in midday trading.
President Obama's speech today over inviting Congressional leaders to the White House to resolve the fiscal cliff didn't go over well with investors. The Dow shaved most of its gains during the speech itself and dropped the rest soon after, as Wall Street digested Obama's continued support of raising taxes on incomes higher than $250,000. As David Lutz, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus, put it, "During his campaign he talked about addressing tax hikes for people making over a million a year, but it seemed like he dropped back to the $250,000 level. The market slid off pretty quickly after he said that."
It's not all politics dragging down the Dow, however. Shares of Disney (NYSE: DIS ) have been hammered today, dropping nearly 6%. The entertainment stock slid after the company's release of third-quarter data yesterday. Disney warned of rising costs in the near future because it's pursuing expansion and growth opportunities, which -- combined with declining advertising revenue -- spooked some investors to jump ship in today's sell-off. Given the company's recent aggressive moves, however, investors focused on the future could see this as a great opportunity to buy in on a big dip.
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH ) also slid more than 1% to join Disney among the top Dow laggards. The company is still dealing with the fallout of the election, which virtually guaranteed the future implementation of Obamacare. The health care act will force UnitedHealth and its peers to insure higher-risk patients, negating some of the advantages of the addition of millions of newly insured Americans. The stock is down more than 6% over the last three days.
Is the economy back?
On the upswing, the manufacturing sector rebounded today in a big way. Some of the Dow's top industrials lead the index higher, with Boeing (NYSE: BA ) up nearly 3%, while both Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) and General Electric (NYSE: GE ) have seen shares gain more than 1%. Two releases today suggested that the economy is picking up steam -- wholesale stockpiles rose by their fastest rate in nine months in September, and consumer sentiment about the economy rose to its highest level in five years. An economy on the rise will mean good things for these industrial picks and their peers, which are heavily tied to its performance.
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