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These Stocks Couldn't Hold Up the Dow

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As often happens, investors look forward to something, yet when they get what they presumably want, the market sells off. That's how the Federal Reserve's announcement of an additional $45 billion in monthly Treasury bond purchases beginning next year played out, with the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) initially soaring as much as 80 points on the news. Yet by the end of the session, the Dow had given back all those gains and finished with a three-point loss as investors apparently digested the Fed move and refocused on other concerns.

Yet several Dow components did their best to keep the Dow higher. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) continued to defy bears by rising 2%. The company and CEO Meg Whitman got a vote of confidence from venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who called Whitman "the best CEO since the founders." Of course, it shouldn't come as a huge shock that an HP board member would talk up Whitman, and Andreessen has also had long experience working with Whitman as a board member of eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY  ) , which Whitman used to lead.

DuPont (NYSE: DD  ) climbed 1.4% despite CEO Ellen Kullman's statement that the fiscal cliff has led the chemical giant to cut back on capital-spending growth and delay projects until the situation becomes clearer. Rather than making a special payout or accelerating dividends into 2012, DuPont decided to go with stock buybacks to reduce its share count.

Finally, General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) gained about 1.3%. With an extensive capital division, GE is definitely sensitive to interest rate policy at the Fed. Yet as Fool contributor Anders Bylund observed earlier today, GE has moved beyond its financial unit to refocus its efforts on core businesses such as energy. The stock has responded favorably to the move even with a relative slowdown in the energy sector, so when the economy starts to improve more substantially, GE could jump further.

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  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2012, at 8:36 PM, funfundvierzig wrote:

    Readers, we don't believe it is the bogey-man "fiscal cliff" which has caused DuPont Chieftess Ellen Kullman to slash her capital spending budget. Instead, DuPont is facing a much softer market for their most profitable industrial chemical TIO2 than Management predicted.

    In addition, DuPont is facing burgeoning costs for thousands of Imprelis claims, many of them in hundreds of lawsuits filed in federal and state courts across the land. The pressure on cash flow may ultimately match that of another notorious agricultural product, defective fungicide, BENLATE, which has cost DuPont more than $2 billion to date.

    Also potentially pressuring cash flow: The likely prospects of paying the federal jury award of $1 billion to Monsanto, the jury having found DuPont willfully stole and used Monsanto's superior patented seed technology. This award may be substantially increased because the misconduct of DuPont, including fraud on the court, not to mention defrauding investors and the public, was so egregious.


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