After losing 2.5% in October in a lead-up to the November elections, The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has already lost more than 4.2% of its value in the first half of this month alone. Today, worries remained about the outcome of the fiscal cliff, and the Dow lost 28 points, or 0.23%, to close at 12,542. 

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) didn't help things; its earnings forecast was below what analysts were expecting, and the stock swiftly fell by 3.6% as a result, the steepest decline in all the Dow. Due to Wal-Mart's immense size and exposure to the U.S. economy, its financial performance and guidance is considered a relatively good gauge for the country's macroeconomic health. Wal-Mart's underwhelming guidance was another catalyst for today's broader market fall. 

Conversely, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) shares rallied back some today, gaining more than 1% just a day after falling 3.6%, which was the biggest decline in the index. Joining Bank of America in rally mode on Thursday was Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), which was the top performer in the Dow for the second day in a row today, tacking on around 1.6%. Investors have been bidding up the stock since the company announced surprisingly upbeat quarterly results after the bell on Tuesday.

Struggling chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), on the other hand, was a notable underachiever in the tech landscape, dropping more than 3%. The recent bad news to hit AMD's shares was the company's announcement that it would not be putting itself up for sale, which has sent shares to a 21-year low. AMD has had a rough 2012, losing almost 65% of its market cap along the way. PC-maker Dell (UNKNOWN:DELL.DL) has gone through a similarly difficult year itself, losing more than 35% since Jan 1. It announced earnings after hours today, and shares fell in the aftermarket on a 47% drop in earnings. 

John Divine has the following options: long JAN 2013 $10.00 calls on Bank of America. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Dell. 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.