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The thing about the budget cuts that are set to go into effect today is this: the markets knew they were coming. Unshaken, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) added 35 points, or 0.25%, closing at 14,089.
After outperforming all other stocks in the Dow in 2012, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) has underperformed this year. One of only three stocks in the blue chip index that's down in 2013, B of A didn't have such a bad day today, rising 1%. It's not shocking that a stock considered nearly 80% more volatile than the broader market rose more than the rest of the market today. Longer-term though, budget cuts could hurt domestic growth -- and, therefore, banks -- by as much as 0.5% per year.
The U.S. isn't the only area of the world dealing with growth issues. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) lost 1.1%, after worries arose yesterday about the company's European business. Caterpillar's Belgian subsidiary had to permanently cut 1,400 jobs because of an abysmal demand environment in the entire continent.Not a good sign.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) just can't seem to catch a break; the stock set a new 52-week-low today, losing 2.5%, to close around $430 on Friday. Not only did an analyst lower expectations for the tech giant's earnings today, but a California judge cut the remuneration that the iPhone maker is entitled to from rival Samsung, by $450 million. The judge reduced the $1.05 billion ruling after claiming Samsung deserves a new trial.
Finally, some good news for shareholders: The innovative medical equipment company Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG ) added 8.5% on Friday. Fears began to quickly subside just a day after the company shed 11% of its market cap on news that the Food and Drug Administration was going to examine the company. Today's optimistic sentiment is the result of a flurry of analysts minimizing the potential financial impact such an investigation could do to the company.
Are stories of this demise greatly exaggerated?
Recently, some investors have questioned Intuitive Surgical's future. However, Intuitive Surgical expert Karl Thiel believes a visible path to long-term growth persists. Will Intuitive capitalize, or be crushed by unforeseen pitfalls? His report highlights all of the key opportunities and risks facing the company -- and includes a full year of ongoing updates as key new hits -- so be sure to claim your copy by clicking here now.