New Year Rings Hollow for the Dow

The Dow closed 2013 with a bang, but starts the new year with a whimper.

Jan 2, 2014 at 12:02PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) may have ended 2013 with an impressive gain of nearly 27%, but 2014 certainly isn't following suit. By noon EST on the new year's first day of trading, the Dow is down by more than 119 points, as the vast majority of its membership glows bright red.

Why all the long faces? The Department of Labor released its initial jobless claims data for last week, showing a decrease of 2,000 from the prior period. The number of claims opened totaled 339,000, though the market was expecting claims not to exceed 333,000.

The Institute for Supply Management's December Manufacturing Report was disappointing, falling to 57% from November's 57.3%. There were two bright spots in the report, however. The New Orders Index rose 0.6 percentage points to 64.2%, the highest since the April 2010 print of 65.1%. The Employment Index also rose, to 56.5%, registering its highest level since it hit 59% in June 2011.

Banks a mixed bag
Goldman Sachs
is beginning to stir as lunch time approaches, but JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) has lost 0.6% this morning. JPMorgan's slump shows no signs of abating, despite some rather upbeat news concerning the big bank earlier today.

Showing a commitment to tightening its money-laundering controls -- and probably looking to avoid any cause for additional scrutiny by U.S. regulators -- JPMorgan has exited its role in transacting dollar transfers for Latvian lenders, according to Bloomberg. That leaves Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG to handle the load until Latvia finds additional partners.

Earlier today, Citigroup gave JPMorgan cause to celebrate when its analysts noted in an investors' preview that the bank has earned a higher price target of $72, based upon an expected 27% upside this year.

The Citi report also gave a glowing recommendation to former Dow component Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which has experienced a nice boost of 2.7% this morning. Citi analysts raised the bank's target price to $19 and gave the stock a buy recommendation.

An analyst from Raymond James joined in, noting a "positive fundamental outlook" and keeping his outperform rating on BofA intact.

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Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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