Stocks have meandered lower today after it was announced that consumer sentiment in the U.S. fell in July. A reading from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters shows that the index fell to 83.9 in July from 84.1 a month ago, which is still relatively high from a historical perspective. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is down 0.25% in late trading, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) sits at breakeven.
The big mover on the Dow is Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , which is up in flames again -- literally. A 787 Dreamliner parked at London's Heathrow Airport caught fire today, and Boeing's shares quickly fell 7.4%. As of 3:15 p.m. EDT, shares have recovered to a 5.2% loss, but there will be a lot of pressure on management to explain the fire without causing the stock to crash.
Boeing has been a leader on the Dow this year, jumping 36.6%, even with the Dreamliner being grounded for several months over a battery issue.
Investors thought that problem was solved in March when a design fix was approved and flights soon resumed, but now we may have to rethink that. We don't know the cause of the fire in London yet, but Boeing certainly will have to do its best to make passengers and investors feel safe again. The risk now is that shares have priced in too much good news for the Dreamliner and have nowhere to go but down. I would be hitting the sell button today to take gains off the table, if nothing else. The downside risk for investors is too high to ignore now.
JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM ) is the other big news-maker today, although its stock is only down 0.4%. The company reported a 31% jump in net income to $6.5 billion, or $1.60 per share, on the back of strong investment-banking activity. But the company warned that mortgage applications could fall in the second half of the year if interest rates remain high. This is one of the risks of the Federal Reserve's tapering of its $85 billion-per-month asset purchases, and it shouldn't come as a huge surprise to investors.
The good news for big banks is that rising home prices should limit loan losses, even if volume falls in coming months. Still, there are a lot of risks for investors, and in a sea of mismanaged and dangerous peers, there's only one company that rises above as "The Only Big Bank Built to Last." You can uncover the top pick that Warren Buffett loves in The Motley Fool's new report. It's free, so click here to access it now.