April 24, 2018

Dow plunges 500 points

Investors are in a rotten mood Tuesday.

Seemingly good results from Dow components Caterpillar, Coca-Cola and United Technologies didn't please Wall Street. The Dow was down 500 points in midday trading after opening with a 130 point gain.

Why the more than 600-point swing in the Dow? Once investors took a closer look at the results, they focused on the negatives.

Caterpillar, for example, warned that profit margins would probably not get any higher this year than they are now.

And Coke investors were disappointed that lower prices may have helped drive sales -- even though Diet Coke finally returned to growth. Shares of Caterpillar plunged 6% while Coke's stock was down more than 2%.

Verizon was one of the few companies that posted strong results Tuesday that didn't seem to have any caveats -- and it was rewarded for it. Shares of Verizon rose 2%.

But other earnings reports were downright gloomy. 3M, another Dow component, lowered its outlook for the year. That sent its stock plunging nearly 10%. Insurance company Travelers, also in the Dow, fell 4% after its earnings missed forecasts.

All this negativity dragged down other old-school, classic industrial Dow companies too. Boeing and DowDuPont both fell more than 3%.

And tech investors were disappointed by increased expenses at Google parent Alphabet.

Even though Alphabet posted solid gains in earnings and revenue that easily topped Wall Street's estimates, the stock fell 5% -- and that helped dragged down the S&P 500, Nasdaq and tech titans Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook.

It didn't help that the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note rose above 3% for the first time in more than four years Tuesday morning.

If this benchmark bond rate keeps climbing, it may make it more expensive to borrow money for mortgages and auto loans and could eat into profits at big US companies -- especially since the Federal Reserve is expected to keep raising short-term rates.

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