What's the Story Behind Today's Big Dow Bounce?

Sticks and stones may break my stock, but words hurt only for a little while.

Anders Bylund
Anders Bylund
Sep 26, 2012 at 2:00PM
Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) may have stumbled this morning, but you can't keep a good index down.

Right now, the Dow trades a minuscule 0.1% above last night's closing level. One of the strongest midday bounces comes from Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), which went 2.8% in the red to set a fresh 52-week low before turning back for a 1.7% gain. John Chambers, CEO of fellow tech giant and Dow component Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), got the ball rolling last night when he said that HP has a "tough hand to play" and he's ready to "accelerate while they are struggling." The comeback looks like nothing more than investors forgetting about Chambers' incendiary comments.

The verbal attack didn't exactly help Cisco, either. That stock is down 1% right now, and it never traded above Tuesday's closing price. It's one of the five worst performers on the Dow today.

So that's the story behind today's fastest bounce. The biggest outright winners, though, come from the infrastructure sector.

Aircraft maker and defense contractor Boeing (NYSE:BA) leads the pack with a 1.4% gain, adding eight points to the Dow's total value. Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) isn't far behind with a 0.7% gain, good for five Dow points. This flies in the face of mixed housing data and ever-growing concerns about the pan-European economy, but both stocks look cheap right now. The best time to pounce on high-quality stocks is when Mr. Market pays too much attention to short-term worries while ignoring rock-solid fundamentals. That's what's happening right here.

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