Updated from 10:42 a.m. EDT

This Isn't Quiet at All

( At 1:50 p.m. EDT)

No doubt about it. I prefer the days when all the news happens before the open or after the close. That way, we get to sit around for several hours figuring out what everything we've seen means and pontificating about what might happen in the hours ahead. A pretty good life.

This is not one of those days.

Swine flu remains topic No. 1, but since the morning bell rang we've had IBM ( IBM) raising its dividend, word that Sen. Arlen Specter will leave the Republican party to join the Democrats, Calpers saying it will vote against Bank of America's ( BAC) board, including Ken Lewis, and talk that Microsoft ( MSFT) and Verizon Wireless are looking to make a rival to Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone.

Still haven't seen a great deal of commitment either way in the Dow, though. Recently, it was up 10 points, as 14 stocks rose and 16 fell.

IBM was one of the better performers, up 2%, along with American Express ( AXP) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM).

We all know too many companies are cutting their payouts these days, some of them in the industrial average. However, a few of the components are actually managing to increase their rates, and Big Blue joins Procter & Gamble ( PG) and Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) as the latest to do so in the past few weeks.

GM ( GM) remained the worst performer, and recently it was off around 9%. It was followed by a 7% decline in BofA.

They Know What You Don't

( At 10:25 p.m. EDT)

People who are familiar with the situation are smart folks. They show up pretty much every day, sometimes multiple times, with knowledge the vast majority of us don't have.

Now don't think they're winging it, either. They're right a good bit of the time. Sometimes they're wrong, but there's often at least a grain of truth in what they have to say.

I think there's only two or three of them. They're just so darned well placed and connected they know about practically everything that's going on out there long before the rest of us do.

Who are they exactly? You can't know their names. They don't have names. That's part of the mystique. Besides, you don't need names as long as it's tradable.

They were at it again today in The Wall Street Journal, this time talking about how the stress tests the government is conducting on big banks found that Citigroup ( C) and Bank of America ( BAC) might need to raise more capital.

Shouldn't be surprised, I guess. These haven't exactly been the best of times for Citi and BofA. Personally I wouldn't have minded waiting a couple more days to hear this. Didn't we have enough to worry about with the swine flu, for goodness sake?

We knew this was a possibility for any of the firms getting examined, though we weren't supposed to know until next week about the banks that might have shortfalls. This happens sometimes with the people familiar. They love to talk. They just get excited. It's not their fault. It's their nature.

Aside from GM ( GM), which was down 9% a day after it's rally, those two banks were the worst percentage decliners on the Dow. Citi was losing 5.2% to $2.91, and BofA was off 8% at $8.21.

The other financials were down, too, however it was by a good amount less. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was lower by 0.1%, and American Express ( AXP) was weaker by 1.4%.

Lately, the DJIA overall was up a little, tacking on 14 points to 8039, thanks to some help from a less-gloomy consumer confidence reading. Glad it's not Monday.

More from Personal Finance

All 2018 Graduates Must Watch Jim Cramer's Bucknell Commencement Speech

All 2018 Graduates Must Watch Jim Cramer's Bucknell Commencement Speech

The Best Investment Advice? Stay Diversified

The Best Investment Advice? Stay Diversified

Use This Simple Investing Strategy to Stay Ahead in a Rollercoaster Stock Market

Use This Simple Investing Strategy to Stay Ahead in a Rollercoaster Stock Market

5 Most Ridiculous Royal Wedding Memorabilia Items

5 Most Ridiculous Royal Wedding Memorabilia Items

7 Ways Your Financial Adviser Should Help You Survive Rising Interest Rates

7 Ways Your Financial Adviser Should Help You Survive Rising Interest Rates