Dow Watch: Coke Soars, BofA Fights Back

Bank of America and Citigroup rally from their worst levels, while Coca-Cola is the best performer on the Dow Thursday.
Author:
Publish date:

Updated from 2:50 p.m. EST

Late-Day Comeback

(At 4:57 p.m. EST)

News that President Obama is working on a plan to subsidize mortgage payments for struggling homeowners erased almost all of the Dow's losses in the final hour of trading Thursday, but the index wasn't quite able to make it into the green.

Still, after being lower by more than 200 points earlier, the late rally was impressive, and it left the Dow down just 6.77 points, or 0.1%, at 7932.76. Ten of the 30 components rose, while 20 fell.

As was the case for much of the stock market, the financials improved significantly in the last hour. Bank of America (BAC) - Get Report closed down 3.3% at $5.87, and Citigroup (C) - Get Report lost 2.2% to $3.61. Both had been substantially worse prior to the late turnaround. Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Report was the best stock throughout, rising 7.6% to $44.39.

The Dow and the other major indices were strong into the close, so maybe this momentum can carry over ahead of a three-day weekend for the U.S. market. Traders haven't been convinced that any of the past government aid plans are capable of saving the economy, but perhaps this mortgage proposal from the new administration will be the key to finally spurring some longer-term optimism.

As is always the case, the details, which we still need, will go a long way toward determining if that actually happens.

Too Much Gloom for Stocks

(At 2:20 p.m. EST)

When you've got uncertainty about and unhappiness with the government's

financial rescue plans

, headlines in

The Wall Street Journal

that say

Economists' Hopes for Second-Half Recovery Fade, Survey Finds

and more grim news on the

job front

, it's easy to see why people might not be in much of a mood to buy stocks.

The

Dow

was down more than 2% with about 90 minutes left in the trading session Thursday, and there aren't really any signs out there to suggest it's going to change significantly for the better before the closing bell rings.

From the outset the index has been sluggish, and the slide in banks has worsened.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

had the biggest percentage loss of the 30 Dow components, falling 9.6% to $5.49, and was also the most active issue.

Image placeholder title

Here's a little good news, and I mean a little -- a third member of the group has turned positive since last check,

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, which edged up 4 cents to $14.42.

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

remained the winner of the day, climbing 6.3% to $43.88 on heavy volume.

Triple-Digit Loss for the Morning

(At 11:58 a.m. EST)

The

Dow

was

down more than 100 points

roughly two hours into the trading day, as financials were some of the worst performers, but the losses for the index had been quite a bit worse earlier in the session.

Of the 30 stocks, 28 were in the red, while

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

and

Kraft

(KFT)

were higher.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

was the weakest stock, losing 6.3%, and

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

and

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

were dropping 5.5%.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

was lower by 4.1%.

3M

(MMM) - Get Report

,

GM

(GM) - Get Report

and

GE

(GE) - Get Report

were also lagging, surrendering more than 4% each.

Among stocks in the news, Coke was rising 7% after its latest

earnings report

, in which it topped Wall Street's profit estimates, but Alcoa slipped 1% despite saying it was improving its

cash position

.

Meanwhile,

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

reached a deal to buy an

Insmed

(INSM) - Get Report

portfolio of therapeutic drug candidates and commercial manufacturing facilities for $130 million. Shares of the drugmaker were down nearly 3%.

Elsewhere on the site, check out an article from Gavin Magor of TheStreet.com Ratings. He has an update on

GM's cost-cutting plans

, focusing on health benefits and life-insurance coverage.