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Bank of America Corp (BAC) Soars, but the Dow Takes a Step Back: General Electric Company (GE), AT&T Inc. (T)

The markets couldn’t rise forever — even if the continual record highs of the last week and a half made it seem like they could. Even the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow Jones Indices:.DJI) has been stymied, having lost 45 points, or 0.3%, as of 2:10 p.m. EDT. Most stocks on the blue-chip index are in the red, but after days and days of nothing but green, investors needed a session to catch their breath. Let’s check out today’s biggest movers and why they’re impacting your portfolio.

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC)

Bank of America beats back the bears
Don’t tell Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) that the Dow’s trending down today. Shares of the big bank have risen 3.9% to lead the Dow by a mile after Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) announced it would spend $5 billion buying back stock. The bank passed the Fed’s stress test, along with most of its rivals on Wall Street, and while some investors may be justifiably concerned about stock repurchases when shares of Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) have risen astronomically over the past year, the stock still trades for 60% of book value. That’s relatively cheap compared to some of its banking peers, making now an opportune time to buy back shares before they climb even further.

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC)’s rivals aren’t having the same kind of day, however: Shares of fellow Dow component JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) have fallen 2.1% to lead the Dow lower. A new report from a Senate subcommittee accused the company of ignoring internal controls, among other missteps, while it counted up billions of dollars’ worth of losses during the “London Whale” fiasco. It’s the latest headache for JPMorgan over this scandal, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

Telecom stocks have also fallen despite the arrival of shiny new phones on the market. Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) have fallen 1.1%, while rival AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has lost 1.3% on the day. The losses come despite yesterday’s announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, which will go on sale in late April for both Verizon and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). The new phone’s lighter than the previous installment in the Galaxy series, the S3, although reactions were mixed, and Samsung’s stock fell. So far, it doesn’t look like investors are particularly impressed by the latest offering.

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) joins the laggards today, down 1.2%. The only big news from the diversified conglomerate is that Malaysia’s state investment branch, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, put forth an offer to purchase General Electric Company (NYSE:GE)’s $1.8 billion stake of the Bank of Ayudhya in Thailand. General Electric Company (NYSE:GE)’s looking to get rid of its noncore assets, a move it announced with a bang in February when it agreed to sell its 49% stake in NBC Universal to Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) for $16.7 billion. Investors aren’t reacting well to today’s news, but with General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) spread into seemingly every corner of the economy, divesting businesses like the Bank of Ayudhya is a good move to prevent the company from stretching itself too thin.

The article Bank of America Soars, but the Dow Takes a Step Back originally appeared on and is written by Dan Carroll.

Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, General Electric Company, and JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM).

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

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