Despite reports of strong auto sales in May and increasing U.S. factory orders during May, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) ended today's trading session lower by 42 points, or 0.28%, and now rests at 14,932. The surprising late-day decline came after the blue-chip index was as high as 15,049, or up 75 points, from yesterday's close. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also took similar paths today, as they were both substantially higher around 12 p.m. EDT but closed the day session down 0.05% and 0.03%, respectively.
But, although the major indexes all moved lower today, a number of the Dow's components still managed to move higher.
Shares of Merck (NYSE:MRK) rose by 0.5% after it received a complete response letter pertaining to its investigational medicine focused on treating insomnia called suvorexant. The letter from the FDA explained that it didn't feel it was safe to start any patient, no matter the age, on any dose of the drug higher than 10 mg. Merck had previously wanted to start the elderly on 15 mg and move up to 30 mg if everything went well, while starting the non-elderly at 20 mg and possibly bumping them to a 40 mg dose if needed. The decision to not allow Merck to start above 10 mg will likely push the drug's rollout date back, as the company said it will have to performer further testing on the 10 mg dosage of suvorexant.
Home Depot (NYSE:HD) saw its stock rise by 0.57% today. The move higher likely came as a result of the growing factory orders report. The Commerce Department released the report indicating that manufactured durable goods increased by 2.1% in the month of May and the federal agency revised April's reading to an increase of 1.3% instead of the initial reading of just 1%. This report is being viewed as another sign that the housing industry is strengthening, which is great for a company like Home Depot. The retailer sells high-dollar items, which are considered durable goods and if factory orders are rising, that would indicate that demand for these products is growing.
Shares of both of the Dow's major telecom stocks also moved higher today. AT&T (NYSE:T) gained 0.57% today while Verizon (NYSE:VZ) closed up 0.54%. One reason both stocks may have increased was the recent announcement that Sprint will be facing a $300 million lawsuit brought against the company by the New York attorney general, which claims the company deliberately failed to pay sales taxes. This lawsuit will put pressure on Sprint at a time when it attempts to increase its presences in the U.S.'s wireless industry. Sprint currently sits as the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S., but AT&T and Verizon both have a massive advantage on the other players.
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Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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.
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