Oh, how quickly the highs of last week disintegrated. Opening 58 points lower than it closed on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) continues to fall as the morning progresses. New economic and global concerns are making investors concerned, forcing them to consider whether the record highs were justified. Regardless, there are a few companies that just won't quit, while others take the plunge along with the index.
Factory order information for the month of December was released this morning. And though the news was positive, with a 1.8% increase from November, the growth did not meet analyst expectations of 2.2%. Additionally, orders for core capital goods, a category measured as a proxy of business investment plans, fell 0.3% in December after 3%-plus growth in both October and November.
Concerns over the European Union have sprung up once again. With political unease lingering in Spain and Italy creating more worries over EU volatility, U.S. investors have matched the European market's retreat. As elections for Italy's premier are scheduled for later in the month, investors should expect to see more market movement driven by political concerns.
Winning despite the fall
Regardless of the Dow's drop, two of the index's components are up big so far today.
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) introduced a new line of products this morning, designed to improve data flow in both data centers and cloud environments. With its new product innovation, Cisco is continuing to deliver on its Unified Data Center initiative, where it looks to create simplified operations, more agile infrastructure, and improved use in data center and multi-cloud environments.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) was also up this morning after introducing the new Pavilion 14 Chromebook -- its first foray into a "multi-OS approach." HP's first Chromebook features Google's Chrome OS, a divergence from the company's primary operating system (Microsoft Windows), in order to try and capture some of the Chrome user base. While the Chromebook from HP has pretty unremarkable specs, the company is trying to promote the $330 laptop based on its increased screen size of 14 inches.
Down like the rest of them
Falling the hardest this morning was Travelers (NYSE:TRV), down 2.02% at the time of this writing. Travelers has been an analyst darling during the past week, with upgrades and price-target raises galore. But with uncertainty increasing, the company will have to post some good news if it wants to keep its 9% rise from January. Without meaningful business gains, the company cannot rest on the shoulders of analysts and hope to continue moving upward.
Also down this morning are both Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Wal-Mart. Both stocks received analyst downgrades this morning, and recent news hasn't been great for either company. With the announcement Friday that Merck will be delaying its request for approval of its new osteoporosis drug, shares fell 3% by day's close. Wal-Mart is also raising eyebrows, with a rights controversy surrounding its Canadian stores. According to the terms and conditions of its photo centers, Wal-Mart retains the rights to use any photo processed in the center -- a practice making both customers and investors wary.