Yesterday, the stock market came back from a big morning plunge, raising hopes that the worst might be over for the recent Europe-induced downward move. But even though some positive news from the Chinese manufacturing industry gave investors a bit of hope, stocks again turned lower, with most analysts blaming European concerns for the drop. At 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were down 82 points to 12,639.
Leading the Dow down was Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO ) , which fell more than 4%. Analysts are pointing to VMware's (NYSE: VMW ) buyout bid for privately held virtualization software specialist Nicira as the driver for Cisco's woes, as the move makes VMware an even bigger competitor in Cisco's networking space.
On the plus side was Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) , up almost 1% in anticipation of its earnings report tomorrow. The jump is likely in response to China's positive manufacturing data, as its purchasing managers' index rose to a five-month high. The stock has already plunged from its recent highs, so results that are any better than terrible could lead to a bounce.
Finally, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) was down slightly. The retail giant joined many merchants to speak out against the proposed settlement with credit card networks Visa and MasterCard over processing fees. Wal-Mart argues that the settlement does nothing to rein in processing fees over the long haul and that what's needed is a more thorough restructuring of the relationship between card networks and merchants. With its huge revenue, card-based fees are a big expense for Wal-Mart, and anything it can do to improve its bargaining position could improve the bottom line.
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