Breaking its four-day winning streak, the Dow is sliding lower this afternoon. As of 12:30 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is at 13,559, down 33.48 points, or 0.25%. The index is now up 11.03% year to date. Of the 30 Dow components, 20 are trading lower this session. Three of those companies are Kraft (UNKNOWN:KRFT.DL), Home Depot (Nasdaq: HD), and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC).
So why are they down?
On its last Monday as a Dow component, Kraft Foods is trading lower by 0.71%. With major institutional investors forced to dump the stock due to certain fund specifications, Kraft could continue to see a slight decline over the next few weeks. But the bright side for the company is that other investors may begin buying in anticipation of the potentially value-adding Kraft-Mondelez split. Volume on Friday was at 23 million; the daily average is only 11 million. Today, 8 million shares have traded hands after only half a-day.
Home Depot is trading lower today by 0.59% after the stock closed 1.2% higher Friday. The company announced it was closing all seven of its stores in China, claiming a difference in culture as the reason. These stores represented Home Depot's only operations outside of North America. While the initial reaction by investors was positive, the long-term growth of the company is now in question. With the Chinese market and the world's largest population closed, where will the company expand next?
According to a Home Depot spokesperson, the company is closing the stores in China because the country has more of a "do it for me" culture than a "do it yourself" culture like the U.S. Home Depot has its work cut out for it as it tries to find new opportunities in countries where citizens enjoy the "weekend project."
Having been up 7.4% on Thursday and Friday of last week, Bank of America is giving back some of the gains today. Although down 1.88% at this time, the bank is still up an astonishing 68.62% year to date. Other major banks are also trading lower today: JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) is down 0.58%, and Wells Fargo is lower by 0.61%. Last week's Fed announcement is good for the banking industry as a whole and will grant the companies that were hurt the worst by the financial crisis more time to shore up their balance sheets.
With all the changes happening at Kraft, if you're considering a new position, be ready for some short-term ups and downs. But in the long run, the split should be good for shareholders. Coming from someone who loves the weekend projects, I just can't understand why other cultures wouldn't embrace Home Depot. I am going with Peter Lynch and buying what I know. The banking sector surely is not for the faint of heart; it's a constant roller coaster ride. But before you make a buy or sell call, you must read this special free report on "The Only Big Bank Built to Last." Click here today before it's gone.