The markets are mixed heading into the final hour of trading, which is unsurprising given the mediocre macro news on the housing front. The still-impaired housing sector continues to weigh on the recovery, and existing home sales fell 0.9% last month and inventories rose to 6.4 months. However, prices saw a minor increase. The market has responded with a shrug, turning in the lackluster results seen below.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
The three major indexes are clearly mixed with the S&P 500 essentially flat and the Dow down just over 0.1%. The Nasdaq has seen a nearly 0.5% increase, easily outpacing the other two, but the broad tech gains clearly didn't spread to Dow component Hewlett-Packard
With shares down 2.3% after announcing a reorganization plan that has the company's PC business merging with printers, HP is the Dow's biggest decliner. Clearly, investors aren't impressed with Meg Whitman's first big move, believing the reorganization isn't aggressive enough to turn the company's fortunes around by itself. However, the move makes sense. The marriage should reduce costs while hopefully allowing the division to create better, more integrated products (and not some sort of unwieldy laptop/printer abomination). What should really help drive the business is the upcoming release of fellow Dow component Microsoft's
And speaking of tailwinds, the Dow has gained strength after the earlier plunge and appears poised to finish in positive territory. Can it stop a losing streak from starting? It looks likely, but today's trading session is rapidly heading toward its close.
A better approach
Watching the broad market each day can be exciting, gut-wrenching, and stressful. If you're in the mood to pick up a great company to buy for the long term though, The Motley Fool has created a brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It features a company hand-selected by the Fool's chief investment officer that has a strong future ahead of it. I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Get access to the report and find out the name of this legendary company. The report is free, but won't be forever, so check it out today.
David Williamson holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
More from The Motley Fool
Does a Strong Start Make 2018 a Sure Winner for Stocks?
Find out whether the so-called "January effect" is real.
Meet the 2018 Dogs of the Dow
Learn the basics of this simple dividend-investing strategy.
The Dow's Worst Day in 2017
Even with big gains, there were some scary times for the average.