When Speaker of the House John Boehner proposed "Plan B" and said that it would pass the House of Representatives tomorrow, he did two things: Delay the possibility of a compromise and put the President in the hot seat.
The plan calls for keeping taxes the same for all Americans except for those making more than $1 million a year. President Obama, however, said that he would veto the bill if it came across his desk with tax increases only for those breaking the $1 million threshold. He previously asked for the threshold to be set at $250,000, but recently increased that number to $400,000 after Republicans agreed to the $1 million mark. The bill is slated for a vote in the House tomorrow, and if it passes, Republicans could blame any future issues pertaining to the fiscal cliff on the President and his party.
Regardless of the outcome, the whole voting and veto process is simply wasting precious time, and that's why investors sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) for a ride lower today.
At the closing bell, the index sat down 98 points or 0.74%, at 13,251. Also, 22 of the Dow's 30 components were in the red. This afternoon, I explained why General Electric (NYSE: GE ) , Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) , and American Express (NYSE: AXP ) were all moving lower. Click here to read about those companies, or stick around to learn about what's new with a few other Dow stocks that fell today.
A few Dow losers
Shares of both Dow telecommunications giants Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) and AT&T (NYSE: T ) both dropped by 1.12% and 1.25%, respectively, even though both companies released positive news today. Verizon announced that its joint venture with Coinstar's Redbox DVD rental service will soon expand its trial DVD streaming service to the general public. The streaming video service will compete directly with Netflix, as the subscription-based streaming video market heats up.
As for AT&T, the Federal Communications Commission approved the company's purchase of the 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications Service airwaves from a number of companies. AT&T plans to use this band for its 4G network. AT&T has fallen behind rival Verizon in the 4G service, and could quickly regain some ground with this purchase.
But as you can see by the share price drops of both companies, investors didn't really care about the good news today, as fears of the U.S. falling off the fiscal cliff drove most buy/sell decisions today.
Shares of Merck (NYSE: MRK ) dropped by 1.31% after its experimental drug for lung cancer missed its main goal in a trial. It has given a good deal of attention to this drug, and had ambitions of it becoming the company's next $1 billion-a-year drug. It has been an 11-year process to develop this drug, and this most recent setback could ultimately cost Merck hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development.
For nearly 100 years, Merck's cutting-edge research has led to a number of medical breakthroughs. Today, however, this pharma stalwart is staring down a steep patent cliff and facing generic competition for its top-selling drug. Will Merck crumble under its own weight, or will it continue to pay dividends to investors for another century? To find out if this pharma giant has the stamina to keep its Bunsen burners alight, grab your copy of our brand-new premium research report today. Senior biotech analyst Brian Orelli, Ph.D., walks you through both the opportunities and threats facing Merck, and the report comes with a full 12 months of updates. Claim your copy now by clicking here.