This morning a number of the Federal Reserve's members spoke with the press and tried to explain that investors have overreacted to comments that chairman Ben Bernanke made about the central bank's plans for the future. With interest rates rapidly climbing higher over the past month, the Federal Reserve's policies no longer seem to be working as well as they once had. By keeping rates low, the Fed is attempting to stimulate the economy, but when investors fear that rates will begin to rise, and they do just that, the Fed's hard work becomes all for nothing.
The comments from Fed members heard this morning were attempts to reassure the markets that the bank plans to keep rates low and help tame the rising interest rate tide. But, just as Bernanke's comments never seem to calm investors, neither do the other members' comments. As of 12:45 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is down 53 points, or 0.36%, while the S&P 500 has lost 0.16% and the NASDAQ is just slightly higher, up 0.06%.
As the Dow moves lower for the day, let's take a look at some of the reasons it is in the red.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) are trading lower by 0.78% today after European Medicines Agency announced that they were standing behind different versions of Johnson & Johnson's Remicade arthritis therapy. Celltrion and Hospira are the two companies which have the alternate versions of J&J's top-selling product. The names of the two drugs are Remsima and Inflectra and have been recommended to treat rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. Additionally, Remsima will be sold for 30% less than J&J's drug, even though it essentially gives users the same results as J&J's drug.
Shares of Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) are moving lower by 0.95% this afternoon. Based on the most recent data available, Alcoa is the Dow's most shorted stock, surpassing Intel. Alcoa has had a very rough year with shares down 9.68% year to date. The stock has fallen as the price of aluminum has slid, China's GDP growth is slowing, emerging markets have slowed their growth, and the European and U.S. economies continue to struggle. Alcoa needs healthy growing world economies, but that surely has not been the case for the past year. I believe we will likely see this downward trend continue; it seems a lot of investors not only agree but are willing to put their money where their mouths are.
Lastly, the Dow's biggest loser by a long shot at this time is IBM (NYSE: IBM ) as shares are now down 2.57%. The move comes as very little news pertaining directly to the company has been released, but because a major competitor is showing weakness, many investors believe that weakness will translate over to IBM's business. The consulting firm Accenture announced earnings and gave revised full-year guidance last night after the closing bell rang. What most investors are focusing on it the guidance Accenture gave which pushed its revenue down by around 3% and its earnings lower by about 2%.
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