After the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) went on a tear yesterday, hitting levels not seen since 2007, while the market saw the unemployment rate fall to 8.1% from 8.3%, you would think the Dow would be off and running again today. Then the bad news comes along: Unemployment was only down because fewer people are now looking for a job. In addition, only 96,000 jobs were added in August, compared with the 120,000 jobs that economists were looking for. On top of that, technology giant Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) cut its third-quarter sales guidance, blaming global weakness. So now, at 12:30 p.m. EDT, the Dow sits flat at 13,286, down 0.05% for the day.
While the jobs numbers are important, the fact that Intel is cutting its revenue guidance -- from a range of $13.8 billion to $14.8 billion down to $13.2 billion -- has investors lowering its share price by 3.17%. A challenging macroeconomic environment with customers reducing inventory, a soft enterprise PC market, and slowing emerging-market demand are all reasons management has decided to make the cut. Furthermore, gross margins are expected to fall by a few percentage points.
Based on these comments, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) , and Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO ) are all down this afternoon -- by 1.44%, 1.08%, and 2%, respectively. Tablet computing and smartphones are the only things American consumers want these days, and with Intel saying that emerging-markets growth for PCs is slowing, where will the growth come from? Asian-Pacific countries showed a decline of 2.6% in the last quarter from the previous year, and China recently posted a first-ever year-on-year loss of 5.4%.
The belief that Microsoft's Windows 8 refresh would help the PC industry may not prove out; the new reports and Intel's recent guidance are beginning to paint a grim picture for the industry. Microsoft still has smartphone and tablet sales to help growth, but HP and Dell Computers may have already seen their best days.
Other than Hewlett-Packard, which is down 32% year to date, all the technology stocks in the Dow are up for the year, led by Microsoft. With today's fall, Intel is on the verge of going negative for the year, and although we can blame Intel for some of the losses across the Dow today, that is not always the case. Our top analyst recently pointed out some great opportunities and a few risks facing Intel in the coming months. Click here to check out this free research report today.