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Dow Closed Higher, No Thanks to These Companies

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) managed to post a winning session today, even though the majority of the indexes components ended the day lower. It closed higher by 67 points, or 0.49%, and now rests at 13,779. The other major indexes also ended the day on a high note as the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) closed up 2.25 points, or 0.15%, while the NASDAQ (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC  ) gained 10 points, or 0.33%.

Of the Dow's 30 components, 17 of them ended the trading day in the red. This afternoon, I explained why three of the Dow losers were Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) , Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) , and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) . To read about the negative news that caused these companies to fall lower, click here. Or stick around to learn about the outside forces affecting the stock prices of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) , and Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) .

So what happened?
This morning and afternoon at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the big Wall Street Banks, most notably JPMorgan Chase, defended themselves against the banking industries critics. Min Zhu, the deputy managing director of the International Monetary fund, said that the banking industry was "still too big" when compared to the overall size of the global economy. Others believe that the requirements to hold capital reserves to protect the banks against losses are just smoke-and-mirror protective measures. A professor of finance at Boston College, Edward J. Kane, told the Associated Press that prior to the most recent financial crisis, we were told "that capital requirements on banks would be the medicine that would prevent us from having crises," but that clearly failed. Kane believes the banks will again find a way to move riskier assets off their balance sheets as they did prior to the crisis, which will lower their capital reserve requirements and put the world economies at risk again.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon fought back, stating that "misinformation" surrounded the industry about the actual risks the financial institutions pose to economies. Dimon later said that the London Whale incident "was a gap in our fortress wall," indicating that this type of risk would not likely happen again. Today, though, investors seemed to disagree. JPMorgan shares dropped 0.67% while other big Wall Street banks rose.

Shares of America Express also closed down 0.79% today after it was announced this morning that Alliance Data Corporation and Amex Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Express Travel Related Services, American Express' largest unit, renewed a multiyear deal. Alliance Data, a leading provider of loyalty and marketing solutions, will continue its partnership as a sponsor in the AIR MILES Reward Program. Just a few weeks ago, American Express cut 5,400 jobs, mostly from its travel business, in an effort to cut costs.  

Lastly, shares of Cisco fell by 1.2% after the company announced that it had agreed to purchase Intucell Ltd. for about $475 million. The purchase now gives Cisco the technology that will help wireless carriers help maintain their networks. In recent months, Cisco has attempted to increase its revenue from the wireless service providers as it sees this to be a long-term growth industry.  

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