Stock markets slid lower today without much of a driver to lead them. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) have both fallen a substantial 0.53% late in trading, having recovered somewhat from this morning's far heavier losses.
Data showed that mortgage applications fell 8.8% last week as refinancing dropped. Interest rates were up slightly this week, so the drop in refinancing shouldn't be a surprise. However, it should be encouraging that 3% more people filed for new mortgages, which will help drive the housing market.
In company-specific news, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) is seeing some of the shine of A. G. Lafley's return wear off today: Its stock is down 2.4%. This is why Foolish investors don't buy into hyped news items like the firing of a CEO or an analyst upgrade or downgrade. The market soon forgets about these stories, and a bounce like P&G experienced last week can wear off quickly. The market may be down on the stock today, but P&G has a wide moat around many of its consumer products, and investors get a 2.9% dividend yield, which is better than the 10-year Treasury. This isn't a growth company by any means, but it's still a good stock for income investors with low-risk portfolios.
The sell-off in telecom stocks continued today, with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) falling 2.3% and AT&T (NYSE:T) down 0.6%. Google's Fiber product gained headlines yesterday, putting pressure on both stocks, and Verizon investors are still worried that the company will have to overpay for the 45% of Verizon Wireless owned by Vodafone.
Again, it's important to keep the long-term trends in perspective when stocks like this fall. Both Verizon and AT&T are adding customers to their vast wireless networks, and there's little chance smaller players like Sprint and T-Mobile will penetrate their market dominance. Even if Google Fiber is a success, it will take a decade or more to build out the scale Google needs, and Verizon and AT&T will both be able to respond and profit in the meantime. To top it off, investors get a 4% dividend yield from Verizon stock and a 4.9% yield from AT&T stock -- both outstanding dividends.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Google and Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google. 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.