Why the Dow's Being Hammered Today

It's not the end of the world after all, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is sure acting like it is. As of 2:23 p.m. EST, the index has slumped 146 points, or 1.1%. In what's become a familiar story for investors, Wall Street is panicking over the fiscal cliff yet again. Currently, every member of the Dow is in the red, and more than half of the index has seen shares sink more than 1%.

Wall Street in a fiscal frenzy
House Republicans canceled a vote on their plan to limit tax hikes to individual incomes of more than $1 million, sending stocks tumbling. While the vote would have been a sign of progress after weeks of deadlock, the measure was not likely to make it out of the Senate, let alone the office of President Obama, who vowed to veto the so-called "plan B" in favor of greater tax increases. Ultimately, nothing has changed today on Capitol Hill.

Industrial stocks have taken a slightly different view. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) and Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , two stocks that could be heavily hit by the fiscal cliff's arrival, rank among the Dow's top laggards with respective losses of 2.3% and 2%. With the fiscal cliff projected to send the American economy back into recession for the first two or three quarters of 2013, these economy-reliant companies are hoping political leaders can find some solutions before the new year.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is also having a bad day, with shares down 2.2%. While B of A, like most financials, is vulnerable to the fiscal cliff, the company has done a superb job coming back from the financial crisis and re-establishing its capital position. 2012's best Dow member is still up more than 98% year to date.

A third sector in negative territory today is tech. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) both rank among the index's big losers of the day, with each stock losing more than 1.7%. It's not the fiscal cliff that investors should be worried about here, however; it's the mass consumer migration away from PCs and toward mobile computing that's crushing these two tech titans. With Microsoft's Surface tablet getting a lukewarm cunsomer reception, the company could continue to struggle in the future.

Stick with the tried-and-true stocks
It's hard to say there's a "best stock of the day" when every company is seeing red, but Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) and Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) have both managed to keep losses minimal. On a day when Wall Street traders are hopping mad over the fiscal-cliff drama, it's hard to poke any holes in the defenses of these two tried-and-true leaders of their industries. Boeing recently announced a quarterly dividend hike as it looks to build momentum heading into 2013.

Interested in Boeing?
Today's Wall Street panic is another reminder for smart investors to keep their eyes on the long term, not the day-to-day moves of a frantic market. For Boeing, which operates as a major player in a multitrillion-dollar market, the long-term opportunity is massive. However, the company's execution problems and emerging competitors have investors wondering whether Boeing will live up to its shareholder responsibilities. In this 
premium research report, two of the Fool's best industrial-sector minds have collaborated to provide investors with the must-know info on Boeing. They'll be updating the report as key news hits, so be sure to claim a copy today by clicking here now.


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