As much as investors would like to see faster economic growth, the signs that often accompany that growth just aren't appearing. With the U.S. Consumer Price Index staying flat in December, it's clear that the inflationary pressures typical of a thriving economy aren't there, and although sentiment in the housing industry stayed relatively strong, the market was unable to overcome fears that the slow recovery might stall out. By 10:45 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) were down about 35 points.
Among Dow stocks, Boeing (NYSE: BA ) once again hit the skids, falling 3.3% on yet another report of a problem with its 787 Dreamliner aircraft. This time, Japan Airlines and compatriot All Nippon Airways grounded their Dreamliner fleet following a flight during which ANA pilots received warnings of battery problems and reported smelling smoke. With the FAA already reviewing the plane's safety, Boeing can't seem to stop the flow of bad news. Even though such problems are common with new aircraft models, at some point, media attention could drive consumers to become fearful of the planes, and that could pose a game-changing problem for Boeing.
Outside the Dow, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG ) plunged 5.4% after warning that its fourth-quarter earnings would come in below consensus estimates. Although the restaurateur said revenue would beat expectations with same-store sales up 3.8%, higher food costs have weighed on profits. With analysts uncertain about Chipotle's ability to raise menu prices in a tough economy, the eatery might have to accept lower margins as a result.
Finally, Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW ) soared 11% after announcing plans to protect its overall business from the potential negative impacts of its mortgage guaranty subsidiary. Genworth has tried to divest itself of its mortgage insurance business for a while, as the unit has sapped huge amounts of capital and raised the possibility of a bond-rating downgrade that would take away Genworth's investment-grade status.
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