Why Does the Dow Keep Falling?

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Sometimes the market just doesn't move the way you think it should. On a day on which core retail sales posted their best gains of the year, you'd ordinarily expect stocks to rally around the idea that the economy continues to improve with help from consumers. But instead the market chose to continue its recent mild correction, with the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) falling 53 points as of 10:45 a.m. EDT and the broader markets similarly posting losses of between 0.25% and 0.4%.

But the outstanding performer in the Dow is actually on the upside: Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) is up 2.6%. The company got good news yesterday when a court dismissed a shareholder lawsuit over fraud allegations against former CEO Mark Hurd, removing a cloud hanging over the company's future. Today's move likely owes to Citigroup, which listed HP among its top stock picks, chalking up one more opinion that HP's turnaround story is intact and moving forward.

Still, plenty of Dow stocks are feeling downward pressure. Travelers (NYSE: TRV  ) has dropped another 1.2%, adding to recent losses following its most recent earnings report. In addition to bond portfolio losses that have sunk the insurance giant's book value, Travelers now faces a forecast from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration that the peak of the 2013 hurricane season could turn ugly, with above-average forecasts pointing to warm water temperatures and adverse conditions in West Africa. If calls for more numerous and intense storms pan out, then Travelers is vulnerable to yet another year of catastrophic losses.

Finally, outside the Dow and the U.S., Chinese Internet stocks are having a generally good day. SINA (NASDAQ: SINA  ) has risen almost 4% after reporting strong quarterly results last night, with advertising revenue from its Weibo microblogging service more than tripling and ad sales posting a 17% rise. The company posted a GAAP loss due to a charge from its having sold a stake in Weibo to Alibaba Group, but adjusting for the charge, earnings and revenue came in better than expected, and the company also gave positive guidance going forward based on its Alibaba partnership. The news helped push fellow Chinese Internet play Renren (NYSE: RENN  ) up an even more impressive 6.6%, as the company reports tomorrow. Renren has climbed on optimism that U.S. counterpart Facebook's big jump in mobile revenue will translate to China, but unlike Facebook, Renren is still losing money and could face an uphill battle in the highly competitive Chinese market.

China's Internet is a promising growth industry, but you'll also find good prospects among old-economy industries in the emerging-market nation. For instance, China has a massive and growing population of domestic consumers wanting cars and trucks, and the Motley Fool's analysts have gotten out in front of this trend by identifying two automakers that are poised to surge along with China's middle class. If you want to be among the smart investors who get rich from this growing trend, then you'd be well advised to instantly download our free report on the topic by clicking here now.


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