Why the Dow's on Eggshells This Morning

It's always a bad sign when the markets are relying on politicians in order to turn around a long series of declines. Yet financial news sources are full of reports and rumors about what the White House and lawmakers are trying to negotiate. Between the fiscal cliff of tax increases and planned spending cuts to take effect due to the sequestration compromise reached during the debt ceiling debate last year, investors aren't too happy with the glacial pace of government attempts to resolve key problems. Arguably as a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is down yet again this morning, falling 19 points as of 10:55 a.m. EST. The broader market followed the Dow lower, as well.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) dropped another 3.7% this morning after rival Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) disappointed investors by missing earnings and sales estimates and projecting weaker-than-expected sales for the current quarter as well. News that the pace of upgrades to Windows 8 has been slower than hoped hasn't helped Dell any, with its stock down 5% in early trade. As long as a big chunk of HP's business continues to be PCs, it too will be vulnerable to these negative trends.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) is down more than 2%. Between damage from Hurricane Sandy and greater competitive pressures as Softbank's attempts to take a big interest in Verizon rival Sprint (NYSE: S  ) move forward, Verizon can't afford to rest on its laurels despite strength in its LTE network. The pace of innovation is so fast that even after huge investments in network infrastructure, Verizon must constantly make improvements or else risk falling behind.

Finally, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) has slid about 0.9%. The bank will reportedly face a cease-and-desist order from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency over concerns about its anti-money-laundering systems. Given the many scandals that JPMorgan has found itself involved in this year, this latest news is yet another black eye for the bank.

Are the Dow's banks coming back?
Scandals partially explain why big finance firms like JPMorgan are still trading at deep discounts to their historic norms. But investors everywhere are wondering whether this is the new normal or if finance stocks are a screaming buy today. The answer depends on the company, so to help figure out whether JPMorgan is a buy today, I invite you to read our premium research report on the company today. Click here now for instant access!

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