As stocks fizzled Friday, June ended as the only month this year -- and the first month since last October -- to see the market fall. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), which shed 114 points, or 0.8%, today, still posted its best first half to the year since 1999. Home Depot's (NYSE:HD) stock was the top performer today, as the blue chip index closed at 14,909. Depressed business activity and consumer sentiment numbers released today were partially responsible for Friday's fall.
Home Depot stock ended the day as the Dow's top performer, adding 1.6%. The home improvement supplies store has seen its stock rise for four consecutive days this week, as interest rates come back down after a brief, rapid spike that was sparked by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments last week. Higher interest rates discourage potential homebuyers from taking out mortgages, which wouldn't be good for Home Depot's business.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) was the Dow's second-biggest gainer Friday, adding 0.8%. The company's new CEO, Brian Krzanich, who took the reigns in May, announced the chip maker's intention to focus more on mobile computing. Intel's Atom chip specifically can be used in smartphones and tablets, areas of huge growth that the company is anxious to tap into.
Chemical giant E.I. du Pont de Nemours (NYSE:DD) was one of the 26 Dow decliners today, losing 2%. Even though the stock offers an impressive 3.4% dividend, Wall Street wasn't swayed by that large income distribution today. DuPont and Monsanto are currently the two biggest players in genetically modified seeds, the controversial technique that has come to dominate agriculture in recent years. Ninety-three percent of soybeans, for example, were planted with genetic modifications this year.
Lastly, shares of International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) shed 2.3% to lead the blue chip index lower. IBM is the heaviest-weighted component in the 30-stock price-weighted Dow, comprising 10% of the index's value. That means that, if identical percentage moves were made by IBM and Alcoa in the same day, IBM's would be 25 times more impactful on the Dow's closing price, due to Alcoa's mere 0.4% weighting. With IT rival Accenture slumping more than 10% today after weak earnings, it was bound to be a rough day for both Big Blue and the Dow Jones.
The Motley Fool recommends Accenture, Home Depot, and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and International Business Machines.. 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.
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