DJIA was -70.71 at 16,460.23 (unofficial close)
S&P 500 was -0.42 at 1,837.46 (unofficial close)
The markets had to deal with an FOMC Minutes report and the first ten-year Treasury auction of the year on Wednesday. Neither were disasters, but neither went great either. Investors are still taking profits after a stellar 2013, seen by triple digit losses earlier in the day on the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday.
24/7 Wall St. is looking at the top market-moving stocks today.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was down 2.4% at $34.12 right before the close of trading on Wednesday. More concerns about price wars and customer defections are pressuring the telecom giant. Its dividend well above 5% may be king of the Dow, but AT&T shares were down by 2.3% in late trading at $34.15. This had AT&T as the worst performer of the Dow today.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was the second biggest loser of the day, with its shares down 2% at $35.68 in the final minutes of trading on Wednesday. The disappointment here is that Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is staying on and will not take the helm to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO. That is good for Ford (it rose 1%) but is bad for Microsoft. Another issue is that Microsoft simply remains above what most analysts think it is worth.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was another big drag on the Dow on Wednesday. Its drop of 0.9% at $187.99 in the final minutes is exaggerated in “DJIA terms” because the Dow is a price-based index. The drop was tied to problems with its Watson unit by the Wall Street Journal, which is said to not be living up to its financial expectations. IBM’s pressure remains.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) was not reacting well at all to the $1+ drop in the price of crude oil. In fact, Chevron shares were down over 1.6% at $123.01 in the final minutes of trading. The energy-focused firm named Howard Weil downgrade Chevron from Sector Outperform down to Sector Perform in coverage on Wednesday morning.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) had a stellar gain earlier in the week to all-time highs, so Wednesday’s drop of 1.2% down to 75.60 in late day trading is effectively nothing more than old-fashioned profit taking. Imagine hearing that the largest health insurance provider is at all-time highs when you have heard nothing positive about healthcare and health insurance for years.
Stay tuned to the economics reports this week. We have weekly jobless claims on Thursday morning and the key unemployment report on Friday morning. Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), the former DJIA stock kicked off the Dow in 2013, also kicks off earnings season.