Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
This past year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has had a number of notable consecutive streaks: the consecutive Tuesdays the market moved higher, a number of days in a row that the index set all-time new highs, and even a few consecutive winning-day streaks that were great for investor. The blue-chip index, however, is currently deep into a streak that many investors would rather not see.
As the Dow closed today down 105 points, or 0.7%, it marked the sixth consecutive day in which the index has moved lower. Today's slide was likely caused by investors reading into the Federal Reserve's most recent meeting minutes, which indicates that most of the central bank's members believe tapering of its economic stimulus bond-buying program should start before the end of 2013. Many believe that is not good news for the economy or the stock market as cheap money will be a thing of the past and the economic recovery may suffer because of it.
Within the Dow, losers were plentiful as only three of the index's 30 components closed the day in the black. So, let's take a look at a few of the big losers of the day.
Shares of Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) fell 1.1%. The company recently reported sales for the three months ending July and sales dropped for the eighth consecutive month. Rising inventories and tough year-over-year comparisons have made it difficult for the company to post strong growth in sales this year, and led to the stock price falling lower in 2013 by 7.44%. Furthermore, with Fed tapering and interest rates likely going higher, it will be more expensive for companies to borrow money and purchase heavy machinery from Caterpillar, which also could put downward pressure on sales in the coming months.
Shares of Alcoa (NYSE:AA) lost 2%, making it the Dow's worst performer of the day. Similar to Caterpillar, the company needs a strong, healthy, growing economy in order to be profitable, and that hasn't been the case for the past few years either here in the U.S. or around the world. But now that interest rates will surely continue to rise in the coming months, capital spending and building projects by both companies and governments will likely take a backseat for some time as the costs of these projects will rise. That hurts Alcoa, as aluminum is a major component in buildings and major infrastructure, but with low demand, the price of the metal may continue to fall.
With very little news pertaining to Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) today and no major negative news, shares dipped 0.96% this afternoon. The company is one of the world's most dominant beverage companies and one of the strongest, most recognizable brands. But as consumers become more concerned about how Coke's beverages affect their health, sales of their soda products have begun to slide during the past few quarters. This has caused some investors to flee the stock and move onto what they consider less risky investments that may not have the negative sentiment attached to its key product. The stock may not continue to have days like today, but investors also shouldn't expect very many massive moves higher in the future, either.
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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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