Legal and Political Problems Pull a Few Dow Components Lower

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average only lost 5.83 points, or 0.04%, today despite it being down as much as 66 points at one time. Most investors would take a 6-point lose over a 66-point decline any day, which is why some investors may consider today a win even though the markets in general moved lower. The Dow now rests at 15,419, while the S&P 500 gave back 0.12% and the Nasdaq added 9.84 points, or 0.27%, this afternoon.

One reason for the slight pullback was weaker-than-expected GDP numbers from Japan, as many are now questioning whether the country's monetary policies are helping or hurting the economy. Japan's GDP growth came in at 2.6% annualized, but that was 1% lower than what many expected. And as most of the major world economies are still struggling to fully emerge out of recessions, a GDP miss of that size can indicate that Japan is still a long way from operating on solid ground and certainly not yet healthy enough to kick-start the countries still struggling in the Asia-Pacific region.  


Shares of Boeing lost 1.03% today as the fate of a $4 billion-dollar fighter jet deal with Brazil hangs on the hopes that U.S. officials can rebuild relations with the country. Some Brazilian officials oppose awarding such a large deal to a company based in the U.S. after information was leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that indicted the U.S. as running surveillance operations of Internet communications in Brazil and other South American countries. A contract this size would certainly help Boeing's revenues and profits as the initial order is rather large, but the contract would likely ensure future service contracts and orders would also be sent Boeing's way. 

Shares of JPMorgan Chase declined 0.79% after news broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has also now begun an investigation into the bank's London Whale scandal. The FBI is just the latest in a long list of agencies investigating the bank for its role in the London Whale fiasco, selling mortgage-backed securities, and the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

JPMorgan, however, isn't the only Wall Street bank to face legal problems as Bank of America is making the news reels nearly every week due to its own woes. The banks just can't seem to stay out of trouble or when they do, it seems old problems from the past just keep crawling out of their shallow graves to cause new problems.  

UnitedHealth lost 0.74% during the regular trading session and another 0.44% in the after-hours session. One reason for the decline may be have been comments from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who said that the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) would eliminate the need for health insurance companies in the future. As my colleague Keith Speights noted, even industry insiders have claimed that Obamacare would destroy the industry. But when we look at the share prices of the major insurers over the past year, (UnitedHealth up 40%, WellPoint up 53%, Cigna up 80%, and Aetna up 70%) it's hard to make the argument that the industry will disappear or that long-term investors should be worried about comments from the Harry Reids of the world.

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The article Legal and Political Problems Pull a Few Dow Components Lower originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co..  Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513 The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America, UnitedHealth Group, and WellPoint. It owns shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and WellPoint. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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