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IBM Powers Down the Dow Despite Intel's Gain

The market's winning streak has ground to a halt today as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) was eight points in the red as of 2:30 p.m. EDT. Half of its member stocks were taking losses on the day. IBM  (NYSE: IBM  )  has been the Dow's biggest laggard so far, shedding 1.2%, while fellow blue-chip tech stock Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) has led the index with a gain of about 1.4%. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Can IBM bounce back?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

IBM' downswing comes as an old competitor rears its head in challenge. Hewlett-Packard is releasing two supercomputers, dubbed Apollo, to challenge the company in the traditional hardware business. IBM has steered away somewhat from hardware as of late: The company's high-performance computing market share declined by more than 4 percentage points last year, falling below HP in that category, according to stats from IDC. IBM already sold off its low-end computing segment to Lenovo earlier this year in light of ongoing sales declines in that hardware business that have disappointed investors and weighed down recent quarters.

It's clear IBM needs to do something to keep investors confident. The company's hardware challenges have frustrated shareholders, but its struggles internationally may be even more troubling for the road ahead. China's moves to push for domestic banks to turn away from U.S. computing in the wake of allegations of NSA spying certainly aren't good for IBM, which saw its Asia-Pacific revenue fall by 12.5% in its most recent quarter. IBM has focused on a few growth niches to turn around the declines both at home and abroad, with the Internet of Things and cloud computing boding well for the long-term future -- but in the near term, IBM's struggles look likely to slog on.

Fellow Dow tech stock Intel has had its own challenges lately, but investors have pulled behind this stock today despite little news. Intel investors are still waiting on the company to establish itself as a major player in the mobile market -- particularly in smartphones, where savvy rivals have raced ahead in the push to gain market share. As fellow Fool Ashraf Eassa noted, however, Intel is on pace to capture a strong piece of the tablet pie in 2014. The company plans to ship 40 million tablet chips this year. While Intel's still playing catch up in the smartphone market, bringing significant tablet market share into the fold will be a huge step up for a company that has struggled with the decline of the PC market in recent years.

Outside the Dow today, Botox maker Allergan (NYSE: AGN.DL  ) has made waves through the health-care space by yet again turning down an offer from interested buyer Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX  ) . Both stocks are on the downswing after Allergan turned away Valeant's new $53 billion offer, reiterating concerns about Valeant's business model while claiming the bid didn't properly value its own potential. Valeant has pushed hard to pick up the company, and the latest words from the would-be buyer indicate that a hostile takeover move may be coming soon -- especially considering that Allergan is refusing to even sit down and talk about a potential buyout with its suitor. Don't expect this acquisition push to lift soon.

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Dan Carroll

Dan began writing for the Motley Fool in 2012. He is a health care specialist who also follows the defense industry along with tracking the broader U.S. and international markets.

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Intel CAPS Rating: ****
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