With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) now just a little more than 100 points away from its all-time high, the threat of a pullback is growing in investors' minds. Any slightly negative news, or even just a stock that may be getting ahead of itself, could pull the index back down to the ground. The Dow's three biggest losers today all fit that mold perfectly. But let's take a look at where the major indexes stand before we get into specific stocks. As of 12:45 p.m. EST. the Dow is up 43 points, or 0.31%, to 14,025. The S&P 500 is up 0.47%, while the NASDAQ is up 0.33%.
So who's down and why?
Shares of Boeing (NYSE:BA) are down by 1% as the company's union workers vote on whether they will strike or not. The company, already reeling from the grounding of its 787 Dreamliner, would be in a world of hurt if workers went on strike. And just to add insult to injury, International Consolidated Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh praised Airbus this morning for removing lithium-ion batteries from it's a A350 and instead using the traditional nickel-cadmium battery. The lithium-ion batteries are about 132 pounds lighter, but given the issues with the Dreamliner, they're clearly more dangerous at this time.
Shares of Alcoa (NYSE:AA) are down 1.9%, making it the worst-performing Dow component of the day. The stock ended last week up 4.3% after a joint venture partner sold 13% of its business to a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Essentially, through a middle man, Alcoa is a partner with the Chinese government. But today, investors may feel that relationship is not worth a 4%-plus stock price gain, as Alcoa has lost about half of that today.
Lastly, shares of UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) are down 1.7% after its competitor Humana announced that the company's profit would take a hit in 2014 if the government's proposed Medicare Advantage payment rates in that year were too low. While this will affect all insurance companies, UnitedHealth, being the country's biggest health-insurance provider, may take the biggest hit.
Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513. The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.