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The market was essentially flat today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) was up 0.09% to finish at 13,047.48, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) was down 0.11% and the Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC ) was down 0.19%.
Among the Dow components, none was up or down as much as 3%, though Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) made headlines with its partner Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) . The event was the unveiling of two new Nokia smartphones powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system. On the upside, Nokia wasn't overshadowed by Google's Motorola Mobility and its three new RAZR phones. On the downside, the market reception for Nokia's attempt to be geekier-than-thou with features like wireless recharging wasn't pretty. Its stock was down 16% today. It'll take a lot more than a few cool features and a Hail Mary with Microsoft to contend with what's coming on Sept. 12.
Meanwhile, FedEx caused some discussion in its role as a bellwether stock. The thinking is that as shipping goes, so goes much of the economy. This is similar to Warren Buffett's use of the railroad industry as a bellwether for the economy.
Here's what FedEx said after the market closed last night:
"FedEx Corp. today announced that earnings for the first quarter ended August 31, 2012 are expected to be in the range of $1.37 to $1.43 per diluted share, compared to $1.46 per diluted share last year. The company's original first quarter forecast was for earnings of $1.45 to $1.60 per diluted share."
In other words, it lowered the midpoint of its earnings guidance by about 8%. That's guiding to lower than last year's actuals and entirely below the previous range. Seeing FedEx blame"weakness in the global economy" isn't great news, butit could just be poor execution or poor estimates on FedEx's part -- and FedEx, though a bellwether, is just one data point in our daily deluge of data.
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