Intel is Today's Top Stock on a Down Day for the Dow

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  )  finished down 34 points today, at 16,418, after multiple reports showed that the Chinese economy looks to be slowing. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) was one of eight Dow stocks up for the day. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) ended down one point to 1,877.

There were no U.S. economic releases today, but China had a few that have investors concerned.

Report

Period

Result

Previous

Chinese Exports Year-over-Year Growth

February

10.1%

8.1%

Chinese Imports Year-over-Year Growth

February

-18.1%

10.6%

Money Supply Year-over-Year Growth

February

13.3.%

13.2%

Outstanding Loan Growth

February

13.9%

14.3%

The big surprise was that Chinese exports tumbled 18.1% in February from the year before. Economists had expected 5% growth in Chinese exports, so a miss this big is cause for concern. Energy and commodity stocks around the world were down on the news. The other worry is what while the Chinese economy looks to be slowing, its debt load continues to expand relatively unabated. Investors and economists have been arguing over whether China is in a credit bubble.

The Chinese Communist Party at least recognizes the problem at a high level and is starting to take some actions to have the market determine prices and slow the growth of credit. Still, China has had just a single default of a corporate bond sold to domestic investors, indicating investors there continue to believe that they cannot lose money in structured products. There are many zombie companies in China that should be bankrupt, but it remains to be seen if the government will allow that to happen or instead bail out investors.

Today's top Dow stock
Intel finished up 0.81% to $24.84, to become the leading Dow stock of the day. The chipmaker's rise didn't have much of an effect on the Dow as the stock is the second smallest contributor to the blue-chip index's average. The Dow is a price-weighted index, meaning companies with larger stock prices have proportionally larger weights. This antiquated system leads to oddities such as Visa, with its stock price of $225, carrying nine times more weight than Intel, even though they are similarly sized companies. For this reason and others I suggest investors familiarize themselves with the S&P 500.

There was no real news affecting the shares. Intel has been one of the most shorted Dow stocks of the past few years, as the PC market that the company dominates slowly declines and the company must play catch-up in the mobile market. Intel is starting to make some inroads to challenge ARM's dominance in mobile, but the company has yet to score any major wins. Some investors, most notably George Soros, believe the market is too pessimistic on Intel and have taken a position in the company to benefit from the current pessimism.

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