The markets are mixed this morning, thanks to the impaired housing market rearing its head and a drop in consumer confidence. It would have been difficult to replicate yesterday, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put QE3 back on the table. If anything, today's poor news gives bulls a chance to catch their breath. Let's take a closer look at how the major indexes are doing and some individual stocks making headlines.
Gain / (Loss)
Gain / (Loss) %
|Dow Jones Industrial Average ||(9.99)||(0.05%)||13,234.48|
Source: Yahoo! Finance as at 10:30 a.m.
The three major indexes all opened up, but poor macro data have driven the Dow into slightly negative territory. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are both slightly up, holding on to yesterday's tremendous gains. Speaking of yesterday, the Bernanke comments set the markets ablaze, resulting in gains of 1.2% to 1.8% for the three indexes.
As mentioned earlier, consumer confidence dropped 1.4 points, to 70.2 from last month. Rising gas prices likely affected that, and a report from the Case-Shiller index showing home prices have hit a 10-year low could make matters even worse. Home prices have declined, on average, 34% from the 2006 market peak. Underwater homeowners have been a huge drag on this recovery, and the financials that own these mortgages, like Bank of America
Staying in the Dow, Pfizer
However, with health reform taking center stage, it's not surprising that Pfizer is seeing additional action. Opening arguments over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act are being heard in the Supreme Court this week. The focus is on the individual mandate, and whether the federal government can require citizens to purchase insurance or face a penalty. The individual mandate gets healthy bodies into the insurance pool, making it profitable for insurers like UnitedHealth
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David Williamson owns shares of Pfizer. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and Citigroup. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Pfizer and UnitedHealth Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.