Last night, the failure of the House to vote on a bill addressing the fiscal cliff sent stock futures plunging, leading to projections that the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) could fall as much as 200 points this morning. Yet even though political analysts believe the prospects for an immediate resolution to the massive tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1 have fallen dramatically, stock investors took the news with the same calm they've exhibited throughout much of the year. As of 10:55 a.m. EST, the Dow is down a substantial 125 points, but that's a far cry from the panicked predictions many were making last night.
Within the Dow, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) has dropped about 1.4% on general weakness within the chip industry. Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU ) plunged more than 8% after reporting a worse first-quarter loss than analysts had expected, as memory chip demand dropped in the generally sluggish PC market. Although Intel's microprocessors aren't as commoditized as Micron's memory chips, it too continues to flounder as the prospects for the PC industry remain uncertain.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) has held up reasonably well, falling by just 0.4%. Although many investors remain completely focused on the fiscal cliff, the health care conglomerate faces another tax that could cause problems: the excise tax on medical devices that will take effect in 2013. Although the more specialized and less financially solid MAKO Surgical (NASDAQ: MAKO ) , which sank 4% this morning, will suffer disproportionately more from the excise tax, J&J still has exposure to the tax and will see some adverse impact from it.
Finally, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) is the Dow's worst decliner so far, falling about 2%. The bank's stock has tracked the nation's macroeconomic prospects pretty faithfully over the past year, so with the fiscal-cliff threat showing no signs of receding, it's only logical for B of A to come off its recent highs after a strong run. If the situation gets resolved soon, though, its decline -- as well as that of stocks generally -- will look like a perfect buying opportunity.
Will tech tumble?
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