IBM Defies Dow Jones Slump as AT&T and Yahoo! Plummet

Two Dow Jones components were headed in different directions early Wednesday: IBM was posting a modest rally while shares of AT&T dropped. Yahoo! was a notable underperformer.

Jan 29, 2014 at 11:20AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 76 points early on Wednesday, as turbulence in emerging markets continued to weigh on U.S. stocks. IBM (NYSE:IBM) was one of the few Dow Jones components moving to the upside, while AT&T (NYSE:T) was one of the biggest losers. Shares of Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) were plummeting after the company posted a disappointing quarter.

Emerging markets weigh on U.S. stocks
Wednesday's triple-digit loss in the Dow Jones was likely prompted by the ongoing struggles in emerging markets. In an attempt to shore up their currencies -- which have been rapidly depreciating -- central banks in both Turkey and South Africa sharply raised interest rates. While that initially prompted a move to the upside, much of the gains have already been given back.

Both countries are relatively small, but their economic problems could spill over into other regions, ultimately affecting corporations in the U.S..

IBM rises as its index drops
Despite the ongoing economic uncertainty, investors were buying shares of IBM early on Wednesday. The Dow component was up better than 0.9%, a modest move, but noteworthy given the sell-off in the broader market.

The move to the upside may have prompted by a report that IBM is shopping one of its divisions. According to Re/code, IBM is exploring the sale of its software-defined networking business, and a potential deal could raise $1 billion.

AT&T leads the Dow Jones lower
Telecom giant AT&T was down 1.7% following the company's earnings report.

Although AT&T posted earnings that exceeded analyst expectations, there are concerns that the company's grow could be slowing. Citigroup cut its price target on AT&T stock from $38 to $35 and maintained its neutral rating.

Yahoo! shares drop after earnings
Yahoo! shares plunged nearly 7% following an earnings report. Although Yahoo!'s results came in above expectations, the performance of a key Asian holding disappointed investors.

Yahoo! owns a large stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and is set to receive an enormous cash payout when Alibaba goes public in the near future. Yahoo!'s earnings report disclosed the performance of Alibaba, which is growing at a rate that does not meet investors' expectations.

If Alibaba's business is stalling, its IPO could perform worse than expected, and the cash payout Yahoo! will receive from the sale could come in light.

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Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Yahoo!. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup and International Business Machines. 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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