Drop in Commodities Sinks Caterpillar Stock

It's another up and down day on Wall Street, with stocks failing to find a solid direction. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has fallen a measly 0.05% and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is up 0.20% on the day.

While the stock markets are quiet, the commodities markets have been in turmoil again. Oil is down 0.5% after falling 3% in early trading, gold has fallen 2.2%, and silver is down 1.1%. The dollar is up in currency markets today, which puts downward pressure on commodities. China also said that producer prices dropped 2.4% in April, which will have a negative impact on commodity prices.

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) stock is taking the commodities hit the hardest today, falling 1.8%. If commodities continue their decline, the company will see lower demand for earth moving equipment. It was also announced on Thursday that negotiations between Caterpillar and the Milwaukee workers' union have been suspended. Last week, workers rejected a proposal that would have frozen wages for existing workers and created a lower pay scale for new workers. In the meantime, they continue to report for work under the old contract terms, so there's no pending disruption to manufacturing.  

The two giant banks of the Dow are headed in opposite directions today. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is up 0.5% after the bank said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had no right to take enforcement action against the bank. The question is whether or not Schneiderman's action violates the national mortgage settlement the bank negotiated with 49 states and the U.S.  

Over at JPMorgan Chase  (NYSE: JPM  ) , shares are down 0.5% after California's Attorney General sued for using unlawful means of collection of credit card debts. The suit says JPMorgan cut the collection process short, affecting thousands of California residents.  

In other news, JPMorgan's board issued a letter arguing Jamie Dimon should stay as both CEO and Chairman of the Board. Shareholder advisory firms have argued the rolls should be split up, and there's a proposal to do just than in the hands of shareholders.

With big finance firms still trading at deep discounts to their historic norms, investors everywhere are wondering if this is the new normal, or if finance stocks are a screaming buy today. The answer depends on the company, so to help figure out whether JPMorgan is a buy today, check out The Motley Fool's premium research report on the company. Click here now for instant access!


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