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Why the Dow Is Moving Lower Again

By Matt Thalman - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:00PM

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Investors who understand the causes behind stock moves are more likely to profit from the effects.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI 1.40% ) continues its slow downward slide today. As of 12:55 p.m. EST, the Dow is down another 83 points, or 0.65%, to 12,672. All we really need to know is that no deal has been made -- or really even discussed -- when it comes to the fiscal cliff. Both sides of the political aisle have been announcing what they will be looking for in terms of a deal, and right now the two sides are no were close to being on the same page. Actually, they may not even be reading the same book at this point, and thus the markets move lower.

So far during today's trading session, 23 of the Dow's 30 components are in the red, and five are down more than 1%. But the three biggest losers thus far are Home Depot ( HD 0.11% ), Bank of America ( BAC 1.27% ), and Boeing ( BA 1.43% ).

So why are they down?
Home Depot is the third-worst performing Dow component today, trading lower by 2% after shares of the company were downgraded this morning by analysts at Gabelli. The downgrade comes just days after the retailer announced blowout third-quarter earnings that beat estimates on the top line, bottom line, and everywhere else analysts made predictions. But Gabelli stated that the rebound in housing has already been priced into the stock, and at current valuations the stock does not have much room to go higher. Home Depot has been the second-best performing Dow component this year, with shares up nearly 48% year to date.

Bank of America shareholders are on a downhill ride today as well: The stock price has lost 2.2% so far. Yesterday another lawsuit was filed against the bank over $261 million worth of residential mortgage-backed securities. While it's no surprise the bank would be sued over these investments, and this number is rather small for Bank of America, it further highlights problems the bank has had since the start of the financial crisis. Every lawsuit costs the company money in legal fees and opens the door to other potential liabilities down the road. Bank of America is the best-performing Dow component year to date, but it's the worst today.

Aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing is down 1.7% today after the U.S. Department of Defense said fellow aircraft contractor Lockheed Martin ( LMT -0.23% ) must focus more on final products than short-term profit. Lockheed is currently being pressured by the Pentagon to improve the F-35 fighter while keeping within the agreed-upon budget. These sorts of talks will likely spread throughout the defense contracting industry, and Boeing, being part of that group, may see an impact on earnings in the future.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$35,719.43 (1.40%) $492.40
The Home Depot, Inc. Stock Quote
The Home Depot, Inc.
$416.18 (0.11%) $0.48
Bank of America Corporation Stock Quote
Bank of America Corporation
$44.71 (1.27%) $0.56
The Boeing Company Stock Quote
The Boeing Company
$208.83 (1.43%) $2.95
Lockheed Martin Corporation Stock Quote
Lockheed Martin Corporation
$339.17 (-0.23%) $0.79

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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