( At 6:05 p.m. EDT) We've seen this before. It's one of my favorite things and maybe yours, too. I'm talking about when the Dow Jones Industrial Average can't figure out what to do for about 90% of the session, and then in the final minutes it plunges or spikes. On Wednesday, it was the former. At the end of the day the Dow had given back 82.99 points, or 1%, to 7886.57. Just before the close, it hit its low of 7868, so it did bounce up a few points from that level. The index had looked good for a while, and it actually spent a fair bit of time above 8000, reaching nearly 8045 at its high. Ultimately though it was a back-and-forth session, and the sellers won. Bank of America ( BAC) had the worst performance on a percentage basis, dropping 5.7% to $8.26, and it was also the most heavily traded of the 30 Dow components. Of the eight stocks that advanced, Caterpillar ( CAT) fared the best, gaining 3.4% to $32.45. As for the companies with quarterly results, Boeing ( BA) and AT&T ( T) rose about 1.8% each, while McDonald's ( MCD) fell, losing 2.5% to $54.25. This week has been a busy one for Dow earnings. On Thursday, only one, American Express ( AXP), is scheduled, and it's due after the close. For the month, the index is now up 3.7%, though it remains down 10.1% for the year thus far.
Indecision for the Industrials
( At 2:30 p.m. EDT) Where the market's going to go out today is anybody's guess. So far it's been up for a while, down for a while and then back around again. The Dow opened lower, turned higher in short order and climbed above 8000. Then it weakened, then strengthened, and lately it was up 35 points at 8005.