The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) broke its losing streak and bucked the downward trend today, as it rose 19 points, or 0.14%, and now rests at 14,567. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both also climbed higher by 0.47% and 0.86%, respectively.
Today, a few quarterly earnings reports were released, a number of the Dow's stocks were downgraded, and a weak housing report came out. The report indicated that existing home sales fell by 0.6% in March, while analysts expected sales to increase.
The poor housing report is likely the cause for Home Depot's (NYSE: HD ) decline. Shares of the-do-it yourself home-improvement store fell 0.19% this afternoon. As homeowners see lower pre-owned homes selling, they may become stingier with their money when it comes to projects around the home. If homeowners feel they may not recoup the investments they make to their home, they will stop doing them, which will hurt Home Depot and its competition.
IBM (NYSE: IBM ) fell hard again. The stock dropped 1.14% during today's trading session, after falling more than 8% last Friday, post its earnings announcement. IBM reported first-quarter results that missed on both the top and bottom lines. Investors seem to be questioning whether the once-dominant company is losing its way or advanced technologies are eating the old-timer's lunch. Many analysts are now pointing toward cloud computing as one cause for IBM's decline in revenue and profit this past quarter, and this development has others changing their long-term perceptive of the company.
Shares of Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) dropped by 0.41%. The company recently released executive compensation for last year, in which CEO Mike Duke earned $20.7 million, which was an increase from the $18.1 million he made the prior year. My colleague Alyce Lomax recently pointed out the difference between what an average American worker makes per hour and what some of the top-paid CEOs are paid for one hour of work. For more about the astonishing difference, click here.
Additionally, Wal-Mart announced that three of its board members would be leaving the company. Arne Sorenson, the CEO of Marriott International, is leaving to focus more time on his hotels, while M. Michele Burns and James Breyer, the board's presiding director (both have been board members for more than 10 years) will also be stepping down.
More Foolish insight
To learn about two retailers with especially good prospects, take a look at The Motley Fool's special free report: "The Death of Wal-Mart: The Real Cash Kings Changing the Face of Retail." In it, you'll see how these two cash kings are able to consistently outperform and how they're planning to ride the waves of retail's changing tide. You can access it by clicking here.