At the height of earnings season, quarterly reports from members of the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) will necessarily move the markets. Troubling results from Caterpillar and AT&T made those two stocks the biggest losers in the Dow and contributed to the average's drop of about 46 points as of 12:45 p.m. EDT.
But those stocks weren't the only losers in the Dow today. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) has lost 1.2% of its value, pulling back from the multiyear highs it set yesterday. At first glance, this morning's favorable housing data would seem to be good news for B of A, especially given its emphasis on increasing its mortgage lending as part of a broader strategy to accelerate growth. But investors may be responding to a statement in which B of A agreed to sell 20 of its New York branches to Berkshire Hills Bancorp and eight of its Pennsylvania branches to Community Bank System; the sales may be seen as evidence that the megabank still feels the need to make asset sales in order to bolster its capital position.
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is also among today's losers, falling about 1%. The controversy regarding the role that Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and other warehouse owners may have played in supporting aluminum prices through Goldman's network of warehouses has drawn attention to the industry, but Goldman recently responded with the obvious retort: Aluminum prices have plunged in the years since its alleged actions took place. Indeed, given just how hard Alcoa has been hit by the drop in aluminum, it's scary to think that those prices might have been even lower without market manipulation.
Finally, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has dropped about 1% as well. Many of its peers also fell as the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed suit against about 100 oil companies, arguing that damage to coastal land from oil and gas production activity has weakened the state's natural defenses against hurricanes and flooding. How far the lawsuit gets in the legal system remains to be seen, but it serves as a reminder that environmental liabilities and other liabilities related to energy-industry activity remains a key consideration for investors.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns warrants on Bank of America. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America, Chevron, and Goldman Sachs. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. 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.