Two Looming Deadlines Are Moving the Dow Today

With many investors believing there will be a deal on the fiscal cliff prior to the deadline, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) continues its rally into day two. As of 12:50 p.m. EST, the Dow is up 119 points, or 0.9%, to 13,352. As the index moves higher, the only stocks being left in the dust are those experiencing negative press today. only five of the Dow's 30 components are trading in the red so far. Two of the biggest losers are General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD  )

So why are they down?
General Electric, down 2.1%, is currently the worst-performing Dow stock. The company reduced its 2012 guidance for revenue growth from 10% to 8% in its industrial business. The company expects growth of 3% this year and gives a range of 0% to 5% for next year. A number of my colleagues have noted today that GE's growth is not even keeping up with the United States' slow economic growth. While that comparison just scratches the surface of GE's overall health, it's still not one I like to see.

Shares of the two big Dow retailers have taken a hit today. The Home Depot has lost 0.2%, while Wal-Mart was down until early afternoon, when it joined the Dow's surge. Both companies are a part of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which sent a letter to the International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance urging the two to agree upon a deal before their current contract expires and port workers go on strike. The ILA represents workers all along the East Coast at 14 major ports. If they were to go on strike, the entire East Coast would nearly shut down, and new merchandise would not arrive in stores. Companies like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target, and Whole Foods would take major hits to their bottom lines if they couldn't have store shelves stocked for the spring shopping season. The deadline before the workers go on strike is set for Dec. 30 at 12:01 a.m. EST.

Foolishly investing
For GE, the recent financial crisis struck a blow, but management took advantage of the market's dip to make strategic bets in energy. If you're a GE investor, you need to understand how these bets could drive this company to become the world's infrastructure leader. At the same time, you need to be aware of the threats to GE's portfolio. To help, we're offering comprehensive coverage for investors in a premium report on General Electric, in which our industrials analyst breaks down GE's multiple businesses. You'll find reasons to buy or sell GE, and you'll receive continuing updates as major events unfold during the year. To get started, click here now.


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