It's generally a mark of strength for the stock market when stocks start out slowly and then build up to gains later in the day. That's exactly how things turned out today, as the market sold off despite reasonably encouraging economic data. During the last hour or so of trading, though, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) broke through the breakeven level and ended up posting a 28-point gain. The S&P 500 similarly rose by a small amount, and small caps posted even stronger performance, with the Russell 2000 index rising nearly half a percent.
Still, not every stock managed to recover the same way the Dow did. Among Dow stocks, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) showed up as the big loser, falling 2.5% as PC rival Dell's (UNKNOWN:DELL.DL) reported negotiations with private equity firm Silver Lake to buy out the computer maker have allegedly reached advanced stages. With HP leading the industry in PC sales and aiming to move into more lucrative tech niches, it's hard to see any Dell move as a big threat. More importantly, HP needs to focus on its long-term turnaround strategy rather than allowing short-term distractions to draw it away from its primary goal.
Beyond the Dow, lululemon athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) fell by 4% after issuing a downbeat forecast for its fourth-quarter revenue. Although the yoga-apparel retailer predicts that its earnings will match analyst expectations above a previous company forecast, it expects same-store sales figures to rise by less than 10%, a much slower pace than investors were hoping to see. Like any company, lululemon will have to adjust to slower growth, and with shares trading at a high multiple, moves like today's drop could happen again if the company can't reignite revenue.
Finally, DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS) fell 7% a day after reporting that it divested itself of two Suezmax tankers. With the vessels not yet complete, DryShips was willing to pay an undisclosed company $21.4 million in exchange for taking the ships. The deal only accentuates how bad the shipping glut has been for years, and how critical it is to save cash by whatever means possible -- even if it involves strange transactions like this one.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends lululemon athletica. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.