The back-and-forth trend on Wall Street continued today as markets opened higher only to fall throughout the trading day. There weren't any significant economic releases today, and again traders are citing uncertainty over the Fed's actions at next week's policy meeting as a reason to be cautious. At 3:15 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) had both fallen 0.9%.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) continues to be one of the most volatile stocks on the Dow, and today it's up 2.6%. CEO Meg Whitman says revenue growth may be attainable next fiscal year depending on the PC market. HP is doing everything it can to turn around flagging sales of PCs and other business segments, with limited success thus far. HP is still a crapshoot, and until we see actual sales growth, I'd look at this stock with a skeptical eye.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) is another stock bucking the Dow's negativity today, gaining 0.7%. The company will receive a $2.15 billion settlement from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries after the two rival pharmas sold generic versions of Protonix while it was still under patent. This is likely the highest settlement for an "at-risk" drug launch and is a big patent win for Pfizer.
Pfizer may have cleared this hurdle, but the real problem is that patents are expiring, and Pfizer doesn't have new blockbusters to replace them, which means falling revenue. While today's victory may provide a short-term boost, it doesn't change the long-term investing thesis for the stock.
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) is one of the Dow's biggest losers today, falling 1.3%. The company announced that ESPN would cut 3-D broadcasts by the end of the year, which is likely a death knell for the 3-D movement. ESPN said 3-D had few viewers and wasn't growing, so it was time to pull the plug. This will probably prove a good long-term move for investors, and ESPN, one of Disney's best assets, has been diligent in cutting costs so far this year.
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