Dow Watch: It's Hard to Go Green

Through two trading sessions this week, the Dow is down less than a point.
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Updated from 1:51 p.m. EDT

Running in Place

(

At 5:30 p.m. EDT

)

Can't get much flatter than this. Through two trading sessions this week, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

is down all of seven-hundredths of a point. It closed Friday at 8763.13, rose 1.36 points Monday and lost 1.43 points Tuesday.

Hundreds of millions of shares traded over 13 business hours, and that's it. Snooze. Plus, the index failed again to break into positive territory for the year, though it remains awfully close. Now it's at 8763.06, and it ended 2008 at 8776.39.

Meanwhile, the other major averages, the

S&P 500

and the

Nasdaq Composite

, managed to climb. Of course it could be a lot worse. We could be down 500 points for the week on the Dow. I don't even want to think about the kind of commentary that would be inspiring.

We're moving in to summer, and there's just not a lot of news to drive the market. We have some Treasury auctions this week, word that the big

TARP borrowers

are getting to pay back the government, the beige book from the

Fed

, but it's been pretty quiet on the corporate front.

All told, 14 stocks were up, 14 were down and two held their ground.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

had the best day in terms of percentage changes, adding nearly 5% to $26.93.

United Technologies

was the worst, down 1.7% at $55.52.

Too Close to Call

(

At 1:35 p.m. EDT

)

Once again, the

Dow

has gotten above 8800 for a time, only to lose momentum. Recently the index was down 9 points at 8755, so at that level it's about 20 points from breaking even for 2009.

Maybe the DJIA doesn't get there today. Hasn't been a great deal of movement either way thus far in the session, though of course plenty can happen in the next couple of hours.

I wonder if most people think the market is overbought here. It is up more than 30% in three months, and no one could argue that's a small move. If so though, what must you have thought when it was above 14,000 in October 2007? Maybe it has gone too far, too fast from the lows. Still, I would note that we're not yet back above 9000, much less 15,000.

Winners and losers were basically tied, with 16 stocks in the green and 14 on the downside.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

was the leader on a percentage basis, adding 4.3% to $26.74. It's one of the 10 banks that will be paying back TARP.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

followed with a 3.3% increase to $16.45, while

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

and

United Technologies

were giving up the most ground, losing more than 2% each.

Making Another Run

(

At 9:05 a.m. EDT

)

The

Dow

is almost there, needing just 12 points to be positive for the year. Futures are slightly higher, but we all know it's a long time between now and 4 p.m. EDT.

At this point, the index has gained nearly 34% from the March 9 low, a staggering run-up that has as many doubters as believers. Recently, the industrials have briefly crossed the flat line before ticking back down.

So far it looks like they might have a chance to finish the day with enough. Most of the stocks that were trading in the premarket were posting gains, including

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

,

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

,

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and new component

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

.

News that several big banks appear close to getting the green light to give back TARP funds was helping the mood on Wall Street.

Keep an eye on

Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

. If you haven't already heard,

The Wall Street Journal

reported that CEO A.G. Lafley is poised to step down from his post to make way for COO Robert McDonald. However, the

AP

quoted a spokesman for the company as saying an announcement wasn't expected today.