Winners and Losers in the Dow's Fight to Stay at 14,000

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has passed the 14,000 mark nine times already this morning, but hasn't stayed there for very long. A mix of economic news and corporate earnings are pushing the index back and forth. And as the day progresses, we may see investors pulling back in a cautious move preceding tonight's State of the Union address.

This morning's December job openings was a bit of disappointing news. Proving once again that the road to an improved labor market will be a long and slow one, job openings fell in December from a four-year high. Hiring and firing during the month cooled, leading into a January hiring figure that was the lowest in four months.

Later today, we'll get a look at the January budget figures from the president and Congress. President Obama has already declared partial victory on his radio broadcast this past weekend, but some are skeptical, believing that the financial assumptions supporting his claim are unsustainable. We should also hear more on the fiscal cliff issue from President Obama's SOTU address tonight, so watch for its impact on tomorrow's trading.

Winners
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is having a nice morning so far, continuing its upward trend this week. As investors wait for March to roll around, we can expect more movement toward the banking giant. Positive results of the bank's stress test are expected, along with an increased dividend payment. The bank is still trading under book value, but once the stress test results are released, there's no telling if that trend will continue.

Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) is also up this morning after a decline yesterday. The home improvement retailer announced that it will release its earnings figures on Feb. 26. With the news yesterday that it will be dropping its fleet of BlackBerry phones in favor of Apple iPhones, investors may have balked at the thought of 10,000 new phones and their cost. But with additional news that the company expects to hire 80,000 temporary workers as we move into spring, the realization that the housing market really is back on track may have brought them back. The hiring expectations show a 14% increase from last year.

Losers
Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) is down this morning after disappointing sales volume produced lower-than-expected revenue growth. Though the beverage company had a 3.9% revenue increase, a weak European market has investors concerned. The company's growth in emerging markets, however, is impressive: Coke saw gains in Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America. Sales in the U.S. grew 6%. The company's profits also grew, but only beat analyst EPS estimates by a penny.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) is also seeing red this morning. With its earnings release scheduled for tomorrow, investors are anticipating news of another slow-growth quarter for both revenue and earnings. According to analyst previews, revenue growth in the Americas has been bolstering the company, which has been experiencing a mild downturn in other markets. Ahead of its earnings release, Cisco announced that it has created new partner collaborations for the midsize market. This segment of the market, which houses companies with 100 to 1,000 employees, is a particularly valuable one, with Cisco estimating an astounding $7.1 billion in potential revenues. One solution the company has come up with is a newly updated version of its Business Edition 6000 collaboration portfolio targeted at smaller and midsize companies.

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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