In the grand scheme of things, a drop of 32 points for the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) isn't really a big deal, especially when it comes on the heels of a sharp move higher that had resulted in several consecutive record highs for the average. But when the drop comes despite strong economic data, it raises concerns about just how much further the bull market can run without a significant correction. Nervousness about testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tomorrow also probably created some selling pressure, especially given the dramatic declines that the Fed inspired last month in discussing the potential for tapering its quantitative easing program.
Two consumer stocks led the declines, with Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) falling 1.9% and Disney (NYSE:DIS) posting a 1.4% decline. For Coke, earnings were to blame for the decline, as the company continued to see weak sales volumes in North America and missed analysts' expectations for overall revenue. The challenge the soft-drink giant faces is dealing with changing trends in beverages, as its namesake soda brands haven't fared as well as non-sparkling waters, juices, and other drinks lately. Add to that increased pressure to produce healthier offerings, and Coke has some work to do to adapt to changing conditions.
Meanwhile, Disney again suffered at the hands of The Lone Ranger, with a disappointing second weekend of box-office receipts suggesting that the movie will result in substantial losses, given its estimated quarter-billion-dollar cost. That said, given the huge ramp-up in content production that Disney has in its future as a result of its savvy acquisitions of companies such as Lucasfilm and Marvel, it's hard to see any temporary lapse in earnings momentum as anything but a short-term blip that could present investors with a valuable buying opportunity.
Finally, looking beyond the Dow, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) crashed and burned with a 14% decline after analysts at Goldman Sachs set an $84 price target on the stock, citing concerns about how much long-term demand there'll be for the company's Model S sedan and coming sport-utility vehicle. With Tesla shares having closed Monday at $127, the target represented about a one-third discount from pre-announcement levels. The move highlights the volatile nature of high-growth stocks, as even minor comments representing one particular opinion among many can nevertheless have a dramatic impact on the stock. Even after today's decline, Tesla shares have still tripled since March, so long-term investors shouldn't draw overly concerned conclusions from the move.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter: @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola, Tesla Motors, and Walt Disney and owns shares of Tesla Motors and Walt Disney. 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.