With No Stimulant, the Markets Slide Lower

Whether it's because of the snowstorm in the Northeast, investors waiting for fresh economic data, or just simply market participants wanting to hear where President Obama would like to take the country during the State of the Union address tomorrow night, volumes were low today and the markets slightly dropped. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) ended the day down 21 points, or 0.16%, and now sits at 13,971. The S&P 500 was cut by 0.06%, while the Nasdaq lost the same 0.06% during today's trading session.

Of the 30 components that make up the Dow, 16 ended the day in the red. This afternoon I explained why Boeing, Home Depot, and Coca-Cola were all moving lower. Click here to read about what caused the three companies stock to falter, or continue to reading to learn about Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , and IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) .

Why were they lower?
Year to date, Alcoa's stock is up a mere 2.19% while the Dow is up 6.62%. A recent survey by the ETF Channel showed that analysts rank Alcoa 29th out of the Dow's 30 stocks and that it placed 467th when matched up against all the stocks found in the S&P 500 index. Clearly, Alcoa has fallen out of favor with the big players on Wall Street.   

Today, shares of both Hewlett-Packard and IBM ended the day down 0.24% and 0.75%, respectively. The likely culprit causing both stocks to decline was an announcement that No. 2 PC maker Lenovo and a data storage leader EMC will now be operating in a joint venture to produce storage and server products. The new venture will give both companies a more global reach and allow the development of a more competitive product. While shares of IBM are down more than Hewlett-Packard's today, HP is probably the bigger loser because of this deal. HP is already struggling in the PC market, and a fresh competitor in the server industry may be just enough to break the company's back.

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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