Wednesday brought a modest decline in the stock market, with many investors reacting with a bit of concern to news that global economic growth in 2019 might be slower than expected. As of 11:45 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) fell 79 points to 25,727. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) was down 10 points to 2,779, while the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) gave up 45 points to 7,532.
Worries about the trade war between the U.S. and China and the dangers stemming from the Brexit departure from the European Union have held recent market gains in check, but a wide variety of issues are affecting individual companies. Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) announced new products that it hopes will help it regain positive momentum, but General Electric (NYSE: GE) lost more ground as investors question whether the conglomerate's turnaround efforts will prove successful in the long run.
Fitbit steps up
Shares of Fitbit were higher by 2.5% after the wearable fitness tracker specialist made some updates to its key product lines. The company added four new devices, including the Versa Lite, which it called its "most affordable everyday smartwatch." In addition, the Ace 2 will be swimproof and have colorful accessories to appeal to younger users, while the Inspire and Inspire HR models will offer traditional and innovative health and fitness features in a stylish design.
The primary intent of the release is to emphasize Fitbit's value. Prices for the new wearables are quite modest, with the Ace 2 and Inspire coming out at $69.95, while Inspire HR will have a $99.95 price tag and Versa Lite will cost $159.95.
Fitbit is also trying to build on some positive momentum it generated during the holiday season, especially as the Versa and Ace lines saw solid performance. Even so, the company faces a ton of competition both in the fitness tracker niche and as it tries to broaden its scope to encompass more mainstream smartwatch features. To succeed, Fitbit will need to keep working with healthcare companies to emphasize the potential benefits of using its devices while still cultivating a coolness factor with customers.
Another down day for General Electric
Elsewhere, General Electric's shares fell another 6%, adding to losses on Tuesday. Investors continued to react negatively to comments from CEO Larry Culp that cast a shadow on the health of key parts of its industrial segment.
Also helping to move the stock today were re-evaluations from analysts. JPMorgan's Stephen Tusa has been skeptical of GE's turnaround for a while, and he refused to succumb to the temptation to give the conglomerate the benefit of the doubt in its latest comments, maintaining his price target of $6 per share and suggesting the potential for even further downside risk. Some other analysts think that GE is making the right moves, but investors have seemingly lost patience with the pace of General Electric's efforts.
The lack of a definitive strategic plan for the conglomerate to follow has already caused the departure of one chief executive officer, and although Culp has been somewhat more forthcoming about his views on the company's vision for its future, the current CEO still hasn't laid out a comprehensive approach for returning General Electric to its past success. Until that happens, it'll be difficult for the stock to gain the momentum that you'd expect from such an important business in American history.
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