Blue-chip stocks are lagging today on the heels of the biggest three-day rally since January for the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC). With roughly an hour left in the trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is off by 48 points, or 0.32%.
The past few days have been filled with a multitude of important economic reports. Among other things, investors learned that orders for durable goods climbed by 3.6% last month; consumers are both earning and spending more (though, only moderately so); inflation remains muted; home prices headed higher by an estimated 0.7% to 2.5% in April; both new and pending home sales were up last month; and weekly jobless claims fell last week by 9,000 compared to the prior week.
Added to that are two reports that came out today. First, a business barometer for the Chicago metropolitan area suggested that manufacturing growth has decelerated in the region. And second, the University of Michigan released its final estimate of consumer confidence for June. Its sentiment gauge fell slightly to 84.1 from a final May reading of 84.5.
In terms of individual stocks, the best-performing component on the Dow today is Home Depot (NYSE:HD), currently up by 1.7%. The massive home improvement retailer stands to gain considerably from the continued uptick in the housing market. In the first quarter of this year, the company's diluted earnings per share rose by 22.1% compared to the same time period in 2012. Its chairman and CEO Frank Blake noted at the time that "we continue to see benefit from a recovering housing market that drove a stronger-than-expected start to the year for our business."
Alternatively, the worst performing stock on the blue-chip index at the time of writing is IBM (NYSE:IBM), down 2.6% in mid-afternoon trading. As my colleague Dan Dzombak pointed out, the impetus here stemmed from worse-than-expected quarterly results from its competitor Accenture (NYSE:ACN). For its fiscal third quarter, Accenture marginally beat expectations on the bottom line with earnings per share of $1.14, but missed on the top line with revenue of $7.2 billion. The concern for IBM is that it will have a similar experience in terms of sales and thereby miss analyst estimates for its own upcoming quarter.
John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Accenture and Home Depot. The Motley Fool owns shares of 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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