Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

3 Stocks Trying to Hold the Dow Back: Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK), Caterpillar Inc. (CAT)

Once again, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is pushing higher today. As of 12:55 p.m. EDT, the index has added 64 points, or 0.44%. It’s poised not only to set a new record closing high, but also to stretch its winning streak to 10 days.

The markets in general are moving higher today. The S&P 500 has gained another 0.41%, leaving it just four points away from its all-time high of 1,565, while the NASDAQ is higher by 0.33%. But even as the markets move closer to setting new highs, a few losers are attempting to hold the indexes back.

Merck & Co., Inc.Today’s Dow downers
Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) have fallen 1% today after new reports indicated that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing documents connecting Merck’s Januvia drug to serious health issues. The study from JAMA Internal Medicine claims to have found a link between certain diabetes medications, including Januvia, and increased pancreatic problems. The FDA’s looking into how JAMA collected the data and what led the study’s authors to their conclusion.

At this time, the FDA has not given any official statement on whether Januvia is harmful or not. But if officials find the drug does cause further harm, it may be taken off the market. At the very least, it could come with much more severe side-effect warnings, which would likely lead doctors to prescribe it less frequently.

In the world of retail, shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) are down 0.4%. The company relies on shoppers receiving and spending their tax refunds during this time of year, and so far 2013 has not been good for refunds.

First, the IRS pushed the earliest possible filing day back by more than a week because of tax code changes resulting from the fiscal-cliff compromise. In February, those claiming earned-income tax credits were hit by refund delays. Now the IRS is claiming that refunds for more than 6000,000 taxpayers who claim an education credit will be delayed for up to six weeks.

On Tuesday a Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) executive said customers had cashed in refund checks worth $2.7 billion. But at this time last year, the company had processed about $4 billion worth of refund checks, much of which was later spent in its big-box stores.

Lastly, Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) is trading lower by 0.6% following reports that company employees in Europe are protesting against recent moves to cut its European workforce. The EU’s manufacturing industry has struggled since the recession hit. Combine industry layoffs and wage cutbacks with the austerity programs many EU countries have been forced into, and it’s easy to see how further job cuts could set off protests and, possibly, strikes. If the company is hit with a strike, both its short-term and long-term costs will likely climb, lowering its profits.

The article 3 Stocks Trying to Hold the Dow Back originally appeared on

Fool contributor Matt Thalmanhas no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Check back Monday thru 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.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.