After a strong January and a great first day of trading in February, stocks have plunged today. As of 3:15 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is down 0.75%, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) has fallen 0.93%. The big economic news today was December's U.S. factory orders, which rose 1.8%, falling well short of the 2.3% increase economists had expected. When you strip out items like aircraft the nondurable goods, orders dropped 0.3%, showing a decline in spending by consumers. This may have been a short-term dip ahead of the fiscal cliff, but it certainly wasn't the news markets wanted to hear after such a strong start to 2013.
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) has fallen 1.2% following the disappointing orders report. Economic reports have been spotty at best in recent weeks, and Alcoa will see an impact on operations if the U.S. and broader global economy don't start to recover more quickly in 2013.
The report has also pushed oil 1.6% lower today to $96.24. This didn't help shares of ExxonMobil or Chevron (NYSE:CVX) today. The stocks are down 0.8%, and 0.7%, respectively, and Chevron was also hit by a downgrade from "buy" to "neutral" by analysts at UBS. Oil has had a nice recovery on some hopeful economic reports, but we're losing some of that momentum as the black gold heads near $100 per barrel again.
One of the few bright spots today is Boeing (NYSE:BA), which is up 0.77% on the day. Boeing is continuing work on the 787-9, which is slightly longer than the current 787, holds 40 more passengers, and travels slightly farther than the smaller aircraft. The company also announced a $350 million lawsuit against former Russian and Ukrainian partners in Sea Launch, a failed commercial satellite launching company. On the downside, All Nippon Airways said it is seeking damages for the 787s it owns that are currently grounded. This is the beginning of what could be hundreds of millions in costs associated with the grounding of Boeing's latest aircraft.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.
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