Dow Closes on Positive Note, But Still Down for the Week

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) ended the day up 48 points, or 0.35%, and now sits at 13,992. But the index began the week at 14,009 after it ran up more than 149 points last Friday.  The index is up 6.78% year to date as many market participants warn that a pullback is coming. The other major indexes also rose higher as the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) added 8.54 points, or 0.57%, and is now at 1,517 while the Nasdaq sits at 3,193 after climbing another 28 points, or 0.91%, during the trading session.

The rally today was due to positive import and export data for both the U.S. and China. The trade deficit in the U.S. fell from $48.6 billion a year ago to $38.5 billion in December. This was the largest drop in four years and the country's net oil imports fell to a level not seen since 1997. China's exports grew 25% in January while its imports rose more than 28% in the month compared to the same time last year. This information will give investors more confidence that the second-largest economy in the world is not quite finished with its rapid economic growth.  

Even on days when the markets as a whole are up, we can still find a few losers. Of the 30 components that make up the Dow, eight of them ended the day in the red. This afternoon, I explained why Verizon, American Express, and Boeing were all moving lower, click here to read about what caused the three stocks to falter or continue reading to learn about Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) , Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) , and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) .

Who was down and why?
Shares of Pfizer fell by 0.3% today after the FDA outlined a path to test Alzheimer's drugs on patients with early signs of the disease. Researchers plan to use a drug created by Eli Lilly known as solanezumab, not Pfizer's drug bapineuzumab, which is being developed by a joint venture with Johnson & Johnson and Elan. The news is a blow to Pfizer because if the study works, it may be left out in the fight to cure Alzheimer's. 

One noteworthy decline today came from Procter & Gamble, whose shares fell 0.53% on a rather quiet news day. The stock is up nearly double the Dow, however, as investors have pushed the price higher by 11.58% year to date. The company crushed analysts' estimates in the most recent quarterly results when earnings per share rose 12%. The stock hit all-time highs after announcing results and still sits just 1.2% below that level. But it wasn't too long ago that investors led by power activists were calling for CEO Bob McDonald's job. McDonald may be off the hot seat for now, but when he took the top spot he promised investors high revenue and returns, which he hasn't come close to meeting even after this past blowout quarter. Investors need to watch what happens closely because if McDonald can't produce next quarter, not only will he likely disappear, but your stock gains may as well.

With a highly anticipated earnings release expected for this coming Tuesday, Coca-Cola lost 0.36% of its value today. My Fool colleague Dan Caplinger pointed out today that Coke has only beaten earnings estimates once in the past four quarters. And after the seemingly non-stop barrage against the company by health-conscious critics, it may have a difficult time beating expectations on Tuesday. Every day, its non-soda offerings become more important to the business's growth and long-term future, which means that that is one key area investors should focus on when reviewing Coke's earnings.

 More Foolish insight

Are you at ease... or nervous? It's been a great five-year run for investors, with the Dow and S&P at or near all-time highs. Yet fears abound. When will the next downturn hit? Will political gridlock lead to portfolio-killing inflation? To learn how to protect your portfolio, click here for free guidance from the Motley Fool Pro Academy


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