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After five days of declines, the stock market was due for a little respite. Relief came today, as the market bounced after a favorable earnings report from Dow component Alcoa as well as promising news on the economic front from the Federal Reserve's Beige Book. When all was said and done, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) posted a gain of 89 points to close at 12,805.
But even though the Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq all rebounded today, some of the Dow's component stocks weren't as lucky. Let's take a closer look at a few of them.
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , down 0.4%
Microsoft can't seem to catch a break. Just as some excitement was building over its expected launch of Windows 8 later this year, bad news from Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) threatens to undercut its attempt to become competitive in the mobile market. Nokia shares fell more than 15% after the company gave negative guidance on its coming first-quarter results. Even worse, the mobile-device maker said that it doesn't believe the second quarter will bring any improvement.
Microsoft's partnership with Nokia resulted in the Lumia 900, which recently suffered a software glitch that resulted in data-connection problems. After being so late to the game, the last thing Microsoft needs is a problem-plagued device. Microsoft desperately needs success in the smartphone market, but relying on Nokia to deliver it could prove to be a fatal mistake.
Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) , down 0.5%
With oil prices still above $100 per barrel, you'd think that Chevron should be having no problems. But on the other side of the business, natural gas futures plunged below the $2 level today, and some analysts expect even further declines as companies apparently haven't reined in production enough to restore supply and-demand equilibrium at a higher price.
The company got some good news in Brazil, as a federal judge there ruled to allow Chevron to keep operating in the Latin American country despite two offshore spills in the past six months. Still, the Brazilian problems hang over Chevron's head, and until they're resolved once and for all, it will keep investors nervous.
Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT ) , down 0.3%
Kraft didn't release any market-moving news today, so it's unclear what's behind today's decline. You'd expect a defensive stock like Kraft not necessarily to do as well as the market on up days, but the stock lost a fair amount of ground during the market's recent swoon.
Uncertainty about the company's upcoming split may be to blame. Although Kraft released some details about what the two post-split businesses will look like, investors will need more information before they can feel comfortable making investing decisions regarding the stock. Until they get it, Kraft may trade without much direction.
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