While the markets started off strong, investors ended up with just another disappointing performance.
China got the bulls started by cutting its rates last night for the first time in four years to prevent economic growth from stalling out in the Middle Kingdom. And then Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony in front of Congress put the markets under a cold shower. After Dennis Lockhart, the president of the Atlanta Fed, made comments that "further monetary actions to support the recovery will certainly need to be considered," hope for a decisive plan during today's testimony skyrocketed. Bernanke is clearly unhappy with the economy, yet he doesn't appear ready to put on his Superman cape and save the day. Not all hope is lost for near-term support from the Fed, though, as there will be another meeting later this month.
That said, let's take a closer look at where the three major indexes closed and drill down on a few stocks dominating the headlines.
Gain / Loss
Gain / Loss %
Dow Jones Industrial Average
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
The Dow had been up 140 points intraday before retreating to its modest gain; however, it outperformed the Nasdaq's nearly half-percentage-point decline. The biggest news item on the Dow belonged to health-care component Pfizer
In related news, Molina Healthcare's
In the meantime, I urge you to download our newest special free report, These Stocks Could Skyrocket After the 2012 Presidential Election. Each candidate has his own plan for getting America back on track, and The Motley Fool will have you prepared to profit -- no matter who wins! Download your copy now, for free, and discover unique ways to profit from the election -- if you buy the right stocks before the next president's term begins.
David Williamson owns shares of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson and creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't 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.