With the automatic government spending cuts, a.k.a. the "sequester," set to go into effect on Friday, the markets are sliding lower as investors pull money out of the markets in favor of the safety of cash. Some economists expect that if the $85 billion in cuts do go into effect, the U.S. GDP will drop by half a percent in 2013. The country is currently estimated to grow by only 2% this year, and the sequester would knock off a quarter of that growth, assuming everything else goes as predicted. As of 12:55 p.m. EST, investors' fears have knocked a minor 14 points, or 0.1%, off the value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), while the S&P 500 has lost 0.14% and the NASDAQ is up 0.12%.
So who's down on the Dow?
Shares of Boeing (NYSE:BA) are down 1.2% today. On Friday company officials met with the FAA with a proposed plan to get Boeing's 787 Dreamliner back in the air. Boeing outlined ways to keep the plane's battery systems from overheating and to ventilate smoke and other gasses that may come off the battery. The Federal Aviation Administration officials rejected the plan and said they would not allow the 787s to fly until Boeing could prove that the batteries would not fail again.
Another aircraft parts manufacturer is trading lower today: United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) is down 0.7%. On Friday it was reported that a crack was found in an F-35's engine blade. The plane itself was owned by the U.S. Air Force and was being inspected when the faulty blade was found. The Pentagon has grounded its 51 F-35s until the cause of the problem is located. Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies, made the plane's engines and is currently looking into the cause of the crack.
Shares of UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) are down 0.35%. If shares end the day in the red, it would mark the fourth consecutive day of losses for the health insurance company. Following reports that industry competitors were warning of dropping profits in 2014, investors have fled the stock in droves. Last week alone the stock lost 5%, and after today's decline, shares are now negative for 2013.