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What's Behind This Morning's Big Dow Plunge

After a big focus on earnings to start the second-quarter reporting season, the stock market has turned its attention to the increasing struggles in Europe. With the Spanish economy under threat from soaring bond yields and the euro falling against the U.S. dollar, investors moved to what they perceive as less-risky assets, and stock markets around the world sold off sharply. Just before 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) were off 184 points at 12,639.

Every stock in the Dow was down. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) led the way with a 3% drop. Despite its recent announcement of its Surface tablet and the coming release of Windows 8, the software giant faces a lot of uncertainty about its future direction. With partner Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) having had its junk bond rating cut again by Moody's, Microsoft may not be able to rely much on Nokia to help further its attempts to increase its share in the mobile space.

In earnings news, McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) fell 2.5% after its second-quarter profit fell slightly. The fast-food behemoth blamed the strong U.S. dollar for the drop, even as revenue rose a bit and same-store sales jumped 2.7%. If global woes continue, then dollar strength could hit a number of similarly situated multinationals that get a big portion of their revenue from overseas.

Finally, Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) fell more than 2% despite announcing a new natural-gas find off the western coast of Australia. With the exploration conveniently located near where Chevron is planning a liquefied natural gas export plant, the find bodes well for the company's strategy to supply hungry energy markets in southeast Asia.

How to fight Europe's woes
Europe is going to be a problem for investors for a while. But we've gotten through past crises, and there's reason to believe we'll get through this one, too. A long-term focus is essential to keep your eye on the ball. Read The Motley Fool's latest special report, where we discuss three stocks for growth and dividend investors alike. The report is absolutely free, so just click here and get your copy today.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and McDonald's. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, McDonald's, and Chevron, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2012, at 11:38 AM, EvanBuck wrote:

    "Europe - Y U NO STOP MESSING UP DOW?!"

    But seriously, if there isn't a sane, fiscally solvent plan enacted to save Europe, there's no telling what the shockwaves will do to the world economy.

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S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

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Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:47 PM
^DJI $18145.71 Down -16.64 -0.09%
CVX $101.30 Down -0.57 -0.56%
Chevron CAPS Rating: ****
MCD $113.93 Up +3.36 +3.04%
McDonald's CAPS Rating: ***
MSFT $59.66 Up +2.41 +4.21%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****
NOK $4.92 Down -0.08 -1.60%
Nokia CAPS Rating: **