At this point, most people I talk to can't wait for the election tomorrow -- and it's not because they're so excited about who may win. It's because they're tired of the whole circus. Most of the people I speak with are the Main Street kind, but from the looks of it, Wall Street is ready for the election to happen as well.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) didn't know where to go or what to do today. It started down, rolled higher, dipped again, and minutes before the bell rang it popped 50 points and finally closed up by 19 point -- yet 14 of its 30 components closed in the red. This afternoon I explained why ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) were moving lower, and now I'll explain why things that looked good last week looked bad for Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) today.
So why are they down?
This morning I explained that shareholders of UnitedHealth Group had a lot riding on the outcome of the election. The same may hold true for shareholders of the big banks, but with the financial institutions, the outcome will matter only if the two political parties actually can agree on things. The "fiscal cliff" is looming, and until it's resolved, the uncertainty is going to kill the market. While investing is all about trying to predict the future, when investors big and small can't do so because of human intervention, it drives them mad. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase both moved lower today by 1.02% and 0.35%, respectively. The uncertainty around the possible tax changes is the largest concern for the banks, but investors can hope that most of the unknown will be known after tomorrow.
While the other big technology companies in the Dow all moved higher, chip giant Intel also moved lower by 1% during today's session. The move lower could have resulted in part from Apple's announcement that it sold more than 3 million iPads over the weekend. So why would Apple's product, which doesn't even have Intel chips in it, hurt Intel's stock? For that very reason -- because Intel's chips aren't in the device, nor is it in most other tablet computers currently being made. Intel has missed out on the tablet revolution, and shareholders are making the company pay. With PC sales sliding, the company needs to break into the tablet market in a big way, or it's going to be goodbye for the chip king.