Clouds Continue to Obscure the Dow

Markets opened with the Dow Jones Industrial Index (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) losing steam, managing to show some green by midmorning, and dipping again shortly before noon. No doubt, the downward trajectory of Dow heavy IBM is having a depressing effect. With no specific bad news about Big Blue on tap, the stock is likely feeling the depression in the tech sector, following Apple's somewhat disappointing news regarding its overseas pricing of its newest "economy" iPhone, the 5C.

Also looking glum this morning are financial stocks JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) . Although the mortgage business is getting decidedly cool, the two banking behemoths stand to make a pretty penny from Verizon's (NYSE: VZ  ) huge bond offering, in which these two banks are deeply involved.

A smashing success
The bond sale, which will provide financing for Verizon's $130 billion buyout of Vodafone, had investors climbing over one another to grab a piece of the investment pie. Though Verizon had originally planned to sell the bonds in bits and pieces, demand was so strong that $100 billion worth of orders had stacked up very quickly, and approximately $49 billion was sold.

Verizon is up today, by more than 0.6%; perhaps, as the news of its bond-selling success sinks in, investors will be cheered by the $41 million each of the big banks will take home for their work on the debt sale.

New meals, cheaper iPhones
McDonald's
(NYSE: MCD  ) is gaining today, and it's got some tasty news: A supersized meal offering, packaged nicely in its new "Blitz Box." Full of treats like Quarter Pounders with cheese, fries, and lots of Chicken McNuggets thrown in for good measure, this crowd-pleaser will sell for $14.99. Unfortunately, this new meal plan is being tested in Kansas City, Mo., only, but may be coming to a Mickey D's near you if the denizens of that fair city like what they taste.

The fast-food giant has been shaking up its menu board lately, and is currently rolling out its new breakfast-with-steak meal, with about 9,600 of the 14,100 U.S. franchises expected to offer the menu item in the near future.

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) is up as well, as the retailer follows up its announcement of its new smartphone trade-in program with the news  that it will sell the lower-priced 16GB Apple iPhone 5C for a discounted two-year contract price of $79, and the 16GB iPhone 5S, with a contract, for $189.

Combining the offers with the trade-in plan, which debuts on Sept. 21, will save iPhone lovers even more -- and will likely induce big smiley-faces in Apple and Wal-Mart fans everywhere.

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