For the eighth consecutive day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has ended the day higher or lower by 100 points. Today, the market tanked, and lost 353 points, or 2.34%. Over the past two days, the index is now down more than 550 points and is well below the 15,000 mark, as its now sits at 14,758. Today also marks the largest one-day fall that the index has seen since November of 2011. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also performed terribly today, losing 2.5% and 2.28%, respectively.
But, despite the massive loses today, one economic data point that was released today painted a good picture of the economy. The National Association of Realtors announced that existing home sales rose by 4.8% in May compared to April, and 12.9% compared to May 2012. This is a great sign that the economy is moving forward, and that Americans are optimistic enough about the future that they are willing to purchase homes and, in most cases, go into debt to do so. But this wasn't enough to overcome the high jobless claims number, and investors fear that the Federal Reserve will soon cut off its bond-buying stimulus program.
A sea of red on the Dow
The best-performing Dow component of the day was Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), which "only" declined 0.99% this afternoon. Yes, you read that correctly; a nearly 1% decline in value helped Cisco become the best performer of the day. Sixteen of the Dow's 30 components fell between 2% and 3% in value today, while another six stocks lost 3% or more. One reason Cisco may have performed better than its fellow components was the announcement that the company will acquire Composite Software for $180 million. The software company specializes in taking data from multiple storage locations and making it seem to the user that it was all stored in one centralized place.
Another company which made a big announcement, but couldn't save its own shares from tanking, was Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which changed its policies on its new Xbox One gaming console. One of the biggest changes was that Microsoft reversed its policy on used games. Previously, the company wasn't going to allow the sale or trading of games, but Microsoft has now said that it will not have any restrictions on games. This change of heart may not have helped big softy, but it did help shares of Game Stop (NYSE:GME) today. The retailer, which sells new and used video games, saw its shares jump 6.25% today on news about the Xbox One. Microsoft fell 3.18%.
Outside the Dow, we saw homebuilders take massive hits today. Shares of Pulte Home's fell 9.1%, while D.R Horton dropped 9.09%, and Lennar slid lower by 7.69%. Despite the positive housing news from May, investors are now concerned with the effect that rising interest rates will have on the housing market and its recovery. For years, low housing prices and low rates have made homeownership affordable for many American's. But, as prices and rates begin climbing, investors fear that new home sales will slow down, as possible buyers are priced out of the market.
More foolish insight
Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. Check back Monday thru Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool owns shares of GameStop and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.