Despite trading lower for most of the morning, the markets made an about-face around 2 p.m. ET, and the three major indexes all closed higher. The S&P 500 was the big winner of the day, after rising 9 points, or 0.63%, but the Nasdaq wasn't far behind, as it increased 0.57% during the day. Lagging behind was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), which posted a gain of 48 points, or 0.33%, and now sits at 14,613.
The biggest Dow loser today was Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), as shares were cut by 1.13%, the direct result of a JPMorgan Chase downgrade. The analyst did, however, raise the price target from $77 per share to $83, while currently shares trade at $81.11. So why the lower rating? Valuation. The stock is one of the top-performing Dow components in 2013, as shares have risen 15.71% year to date.
Another health care-related stock falling today was UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). After rising 8.5% this past week, and more than 5% the week before that, shares dropped 0.34% today. The decline is probably just a case of taking money off the table following the stock's performance over the past two weeks. The stock still probably has some room to move higher, and it now seems Obamacare will help rather than hurt the company. In addition, shares seem rather cheap, as the stock's current price-to-earnings ratio is only 11.72 and its future P/E is only 10.35.
Two technology stocks are also moved lower today, despite what would seem to be positive news for shareholders.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) fell 0.18% today, even though the company launched a new line of servers this morning. Some industry experts are calling this HP's biggest launch since 1989. The HP Moonshot 1500 System takes a very different approach to servers and has thus far received strong reviews.
Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) lost 0.38% this afternoon, after the company announced that it was selling its IPTV unit to Ericsson. Microsoft's IPTV business makes software that allows phone companies to deliver a television signal over the Internet. The terms of the sale and price weren't disclosed, but Ove Anebygd, Ericsson's vice president and head of TV, said it was more than $100 million, but less than $234 million. Microsoft's shareholders are used to seeing the company make big purchases, not big sales, so this may have come as a surprise to many.
Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson and UnitedHealth Group and owns shares of Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, and Microsoft. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.
More from The Motley Fool
Does a Strong Start Make 2018 a Sure Winner for Stocks?
Find out whether the so-called "January effect" is real.
Meet the 2018 Dogs of the Dow
Learn the basics of this simple dividend-investing strategy.
The Dow's Worst Day in 2017
Even with big gains, there were some scary times for the average.