This morning started out with investors learning that Europe is officially back in a recession. For the second time in just four years, the continent has slipped backwards. In the third quarter, the 17-nation bloc shrunk 0.1% after realizing a 0.2% decline in the previous quarter. The southern countries are overwhelmed with debt and, even though France and Germany continue to slowly grow, it's not enough to offset the contraction in other areas of the eurozone.
Now, with Europe officially in a recession, economists are warning everyone that, unless government officials agree upon their differences, the U.S. will also fall into a recession. These fears, as well as dismal jobless claims, helped push the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) lower again today. The index now sits at 12,542, down 28 points, or 0.23% on the day. Since the election, the index has lost close to 700 points, and is currently up a mere 2.66% year-to-date.
On a brighter note, not all of the index's components shared its fate. Of the 30 stocks which make up the Dow, 14 of them were either higher or unchanged during today's trading session. Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) , Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , and Coca Cola (NYSE: KO ) ended the day as the big winners, all up more than 1.1%.
So why were they higher?
Today, with its shares moving higher by 1.59%, Cisco is the Dow's biggest winner. The company's positive earnings report yesterday has reignited investor's interest in the technology firm. But, some believe that the stock moved higher today because of positive quarterly results from rival NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP ) . With both companies displaying the ability to meet or beat estimates, it proves that, while other areas in technology may be struggling, the demand for data and storing it continues to grow.
Reports today now indicate that Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) is on pace to meet its $7.6 billion obligation to help homeowners, who are underwater on their mortgages, within one year. The bank was given three years to meet the requirements set by the National Mortgage Settlement, which found a number of banks guilty of mishandling the foreclosure process. Additionally, today, the Mortgage Bankers Association announced that the number of home loans which are in the foreclosure process, or more than 90 days behind in their payments, has fallen to 7.03% in the most recent quarter. That number was 7.31% in the second quarter of this year, and 7.89% in the third quarter last year. The lower the foreclosure rate, the lower the liability Bank of America will have moving forward. Shares of the bank ended the day higher by 1.11%.
Shares of beverage king Coca-Cola moved higher by 1.17% today, after new reports emerged today that tie a number of deaths to so-called "energy drinks." Monster Beverage (Nasdaq: MNST ) has been on the front lines of the fight over the negative health effects of its drinks but, today, it received some company. A new report is now tying the popular 5-Hour Energy shot to at least 13 deaths. Many health experts have warned consumers of the negative effects of drinking soda for years, and now that attention has been briefly diverted to possibly more serious non-alcoholic beverages. It now looks as if cola may be seen as a healthier caffeinated option, which will likely help Coca-Cola in the future.
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