It's time to look beyond the election. As I noted earlier today, traders are now focused on the so-called "fiscal cliff," which kicks in this January in the absence of Congressional action. But we needn't look that far in the future to appreciate the nuances of today's performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI). As of 2:50 p.m. EST, the blue-chip index is down about 60 points, or 0.47%.
The biggest winners among individual stocks today are Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), the nation's two largest banks by assets. Bank of America is up 2.5% in intraday trading after falling precipitously yesterday on fears that President Obama's re-election could spell trouble for the financial sector. Earlier today, moreover, the research firm ISI Group upgraded Bank of America from hold to buy. According to the ISI:
Our change of heart is based on three main factors: 1) BAC has built its capital ratios rapidly and will be able to buyback stock much sooner and more robustly than we expected; 2) we now have more confidence that operating cost savings will be realized about in line with expectations; and 3) we are gaining confidence that BAC is getting its arms around its mortgage repurchase risk, and that future charges will be manageable and easily digestible (i.e. they won't change the 'story' of the stock or the long-term earnings profile of BAC).
Meanwhile, JPMorgan is up after the bank said it has "agreed in principle" to settle an investigation into how Bear Stearns, the investment bank that JPMorgan acquired in 2008, originated and sold mortgages in the lead-up to the financial crisis. The bank also said it intends to resume its $3 billion share buyback program earlier next year.
Finally, shares of McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) are trading sharply lower, down nearly 2% so far. This morning the company revealed that its same-store sales dropped in October by 1.8%. According to The Wall Street Journal, it was the company's first monthly decline in same-store sales since 2003. Analysts had predicted that the figure will come in around -1.07%.