The Best and Worst Dow Stocks Today

Following some mixed reports on the economy and the housing market, as well as some hit-and-miss earnings reports, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is down 0.42% as of 1:25 p.m. EDT, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is down 0.47%.

There were two U.S. economic releases today.





Markit flash PMI




New-home sales




Markit's "flash" Purchasing Managers' Index came in higher than last month's 51.9, indicating that the economy expanded at a faster rate than in June. The "flash" PMI is an early estimate of the final PMI based on 85% of the responses used for Markit's PMI reading. The rise was driven by faster growth in output, new orders, employment, and backlogs. This is a good sign for the economy that economic growth will continue, but it's perhaps a bad sign for asset prices, as faster growth would mean the Federal Reserve could begin tapering its asset purchases.

New-home sales were also strong at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000, beating analyst expectations of 483,000 and last month's 459,000. New-home sales are nearly 40% above the year-ago rate.

US New Single Family Houses Sold Chart

US New Single Family Houses Sold data by YCharts.

The recent rise in mortgage rates has not yet slowed down new-home sales, but rates are still low by historical standards.

The other big news today has been earnings reports. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) is today's worst Dow stock, down 2.7% after it reported earnings per share of $1.45 -- a full 40% below the prior-year quarter's $2.54 and well short of analyst expectations of $1.71. Revenue came in at $14.6 billion, down 16% from a year ago and below analyst expectations of $14.9 billion. On top of the disappointing earnings, the company also cut its forecast for 2013 EPS from $7 to $6.50 and lowered its revenue guidance from $56 billion-$58 billion to $57 billion-$61 billion. Fool contributor Neha Chamaria recently discussed what investors should look for in Caterpillar's earnings release.

Today's Dow leader is American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) , up 1.2%. Last week American Express was the second-worst Dow component after news leaked that the European Commission was working on a proposal to cap transaction fees at 0.2% for credit card and debit card transactions. Yesterday the European Commission released its draft proposal to regulate card-based payment transactions in Europe. Today American Express issued a statement in response to the proposal to alleviate investors' fears. The company affirmed its belief that its merchant discount rate would not be affected, as it has its own network and does not operate on the basis of interbank agreements, as Visa and Mastercard do.

Millions of Americans have waited on the sidelines since the market meltdown in 2008 and 2009, too scared to invest and put their money at further risk. Yet those who have stayed out of the market have missed out on huge gains and put their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal-finance experts show you why investing is so important and what you need to do to get started. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2555886, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/26/2016 6:24:37 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 2 days ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,261.45 -131.01 -0.71%
S&P 500 2,164.69 -12.49 -0.57%
NASD 5,305.75 -33.78 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/23/2016 4:55 PM
^DJI $18261.45 Down -131.01 -0.71%
^GSPC $2164.69 Down -12.49 -0.57%
S&P 500 INDEX CAPS Rating: No stars
AXP $63.85 Down -0.78 -1.21%
American Express CAPS Rating: ****
CAT $82.44 Down -1.06 -1.27%
Caterpillar CAPS Rating: ***