3 Casualties of the Fed's Dow Smackdown

Now that the fiscal cliff is over and done with, the Federal Reserve decided to reassert its influence over the financial markets. With the release of the latest Fed meeting's minutes, investors found out that the Fed has dealt with internal dissent over whether policies like Operation Twist and quantitative easing are effective enough to outweigh the risks of unintended consequences. Bond yields soared when the threat of an end to the Fed's bond-buying appeared, and stocks gave up early gains, with the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) falling 21 points.

Among Dow stocks, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) fell the most, plunging nearly 5%, on a downgrade from Deutsche Bank. With risks from a less attractive pool of patients entering the health-insurance system in the coming years, and a lack of new reasons to buy into the space, the analyst cut its price target to $61 -- still more than 15% above the current price.

Outside the Dow, Mellanox Technologies (NASDAQ: MLNX  ) lost 17%, after it announced that its fourth-quarter sales would come in below expectations. The company, which is based in Israel and develops data-management solutions, also suffered from a problem with one of its products. The drop is only the latest episode in a long decline for the company, with the stock dropping 42% during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Finally, memory chip-maker Rambus (NASDAQ: RMBS  ) declined 6.5%, after a court said it couldn't use a set of 12 patents to justify its demand for royalties from rival Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU  ) . With the court ruling that Rambus intentionally destroyed evidence in a lawsuit, it imposed the unenforceability sanction. Micron gained 4% on the day.

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