Why Not a Single Dow Stock Is Up Today

The Dow is down this morning after House Speaker John Boehner was unable to get his "plan B" option through the House of Representatives. This, coupled with some mixed U.S. economic releases, has punished each of the Dow's 30 components today. As of 1:25 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is down 159 points, or 1.2%, to 13,151. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is down 19 point, or 1.33%.

The big story today is that fiscal-cliff negotiations have seemingly stalled. Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner proposed a "plan B" option to fall back on in case talks failed. The White House rejected the plan, and last night Boehner tried to get it through the House, but he failed to win enough support from his own party. Talks will continue behind closed doors throughout the holidays; Congress is in session today and then will until the 27th.

The Motley Fool has created a special page that will be updated with all of our latest fiscal-cliff coverage to help cut through the daily noise and give you the information and analysis you need as an investor. Head on over for everything you need to know about fiscal cliff 2012.

This morning there were four U.S. economic releases:

Report

Period

Actual

Previous

Personal income

November

0.6%

0.1%

Consumer spending

November

0.4%

(0.1%)

Durable-goods orders

November

0.7%

1.1%

University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

December

72.9

82.7

Source: Marketwatch U.S. Economic Calendar.

The first two releases were from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which showed that American consumers' income and spending both rose in November. Personal income jumped 0.6% in November, surpassing October's 0.1% rise and analyst expectations of a 0.4% jump. Consumer spending rose 0.4% in November, in line with analyst expectations and improving on October's 0.1% drop.

The Department of Commerce also reported this morning that durable-goods orders rose 0.7% in November. Further, the agency revised October's growth upward from 0.5% to 1.1%. Analysts had been expecting growth of just 0.1%, so this was a pleasant surprise.

Despite the positive economic releases, consumer sentiment has been beaten down by worries over the U.S. fiscal cliff. After steadily rising throughout the year, the Consumer Sentiment Index plunged from 82.7 to 72.9 in November.

Foolish Bottom Line
Today's economic releases, as well as recent housing data, have all shown an improving economy. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and other economically sensitive stocks have been rising all year on that strength. With that prosperity now threatened by the fiscal cliff, the bank is the Dow's biggest loser today, down 2.5%. Hopefully Congress gets its act together after Christmas and applies the brakes before the U.S. reaches the cliff.

To learn more about the most talked-about bank out there, check out our in-depth company report on Bank of America. The report details Bank of America's prospects, including three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Just click here to get access.


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