Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why the Dow Dropped Today

The stock market has officially become boring.

In the absence of a major story line threatening impending doom, U.S. indexes have turned away from their volatile ways. It seems, at least for now, that the regular 1% surges investors grew so accustomed to have fallen by the wayside. That�s great for investors who can use this downtime to shift their focus to what we love most dearly at the Fool -- stock picking.�

And while I�ll get to a few opportunities in a moment, let�s not forget that the market was actually open today

On this very boring day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) shed a meager 17 points, leaving it only 0.1% lower. This leaves the Dow essentially flat on the week, and up a surprising 2.9% so far in September. In equally unexciting fashion, the S&P 500 shed 0.01%, and Nasdaq rose 0.1%.� Investors� anxiety has fallen off a cliff so far this month. Today, the VIX (INDEX: ^VXX  ) lost another 0.6%, adding to its almost 25% decline this month.

Talking Stocks
Hitting the highlights on some of today�s biggest moving stocks, we see some pretty massive moves from several noteworthy names.

Shares of biotech VIVUS (Nasdaq: VVUS  ) got an 11% haircut today, as the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, received some initial negative feedback from the regulator authority regarding its weight loss drug, Qsiva (branded in the U.S. as Qsymia).� This, of course, preempts an actual rejection, but it certainly bodes poorly for VIVUS. VIVUS competes in the red-hot weight loss drug space with Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARNA  ) and Orexigen Therapeutics.� Arena, whose Belviq drug has already gained approval from the U.S. FDA, rose 3% on the news of a potential red flag for its competitor.

On the upside, shares of KB Home spiked 16.4%, turning profitable in its third-quarter earnings. The stock�s been on a tear this year, rising a staggering 127% after today�s surge, and further supporting the notion that the U.S. housing market is indeed recovering.� This is just one reason why I added shares of the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund to the real money portfolio I manage for It was lifted 1.9% by the positive report, as well.

Today�s last big winner was designer and last year�s IPO studmuffin Michael Kors (Nasdaq: KORS  ) , which also shot 9.3% higher.� The company recently raised its earnings-per-share guidance. The stock, although constantly expensive, is up a staggering 137% since its public debut and, probably unsurprisingly, still looks expensive. Apparently, growth doesn�t come cheap for this designer.

However, chasing hot stocks is a recipe to get burned. Saving is a long-term process, not an overnight miracle, and we believe that looking past news events and market cycles is often�the best way to win�for the average guy. We highlight three safe, stable large-cap companies that should thrive over time in a�new research report from the Fool.� You can access it free of charge today by�just clicking here.

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