Despite a few strong earnings reports today, the markets are muted today. Since the Federal Open Market Committee began its two-day meeting this morning, speculation over what the Fed plans to do with interest rates is tempering stocks' gains. My colleague Alex Dumortier noted a few items investors should be paying attention to over the next few days.
As investors struggle to decide whether they should be buying or selling today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is up a meager nine points, or 0.06%, at 1 p.m. EDT. The S&P 500 is slightly higher, up 0.17%. The NASDAQ on the other hand, is performing rather well, higher by 0.58%.
Let's take a look at a few of the components that are holding back the Dow today.
Despite having recently been upgraded by Longbow Research from "neutral" to "buy," shares of Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) are down 0.35% today. The main reason shares are falling today is the poor earnings report released by Cummins (NYSE: CMI ) this morning. The company reported that sales dropped 19% in the company's engine and turbine unit. Cummins also blamed the poor results on weak oil, gas, and mining demand -- areas in which Caterpillar also operates.
The biggest Dow loser today is easily Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) , whose shares have fallen 3.7%. Pfizer also announced disappointing earnings this morning. Sales dropped 9% in the quarter, and the company missed analysts' estimates for earnings per share by $0.01. But even more worrisome was that the company cut its full-year earnings forecast by $0.06. While that may not sounds like a lot, investors never like to see earnings cut.
Is Caterpillar a buy?
Caterpillar is the market share leader in an industry in which size matters, and its quality products, extensive service network, and unparalleled brand strength combine to give it solid competitive advantages. Read all about Caterpillar's strengths and weaknesses in The Motley Fool's brand-new report. Just click here to access it now.