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The beginning of earnings season is always a nervous time for investors, especially when the economy isn't cooperating with strong growth. As analysts have ramped down their expectations for the coming quarter during the past several months, fears have risen about the slowing pace of growth. Yet lower expectations also make it easier for companies to surpass them, which could ignite another bull run. For now, though, investors remained conservative with the market near multiyear highs, and the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) finished the day down 55 points.
Among Dow stocks, the biggest decliner was Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , which fell 2.6%. The aircraft manufacturer suffered another setback with its 787 Dreamliner today, when a Japan Airlines 787 suffered a fuel leak as it departed the gate at Boston's Logan Airport. The problem is just the latest in a series of issues with the new Dreamliner, and investors are worried that further problems could cause new delays and eventually even potential customer defections.
Elsewhere, Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD ) plunged 6% on news that board chairman Eddie Lampert will take over as CEO of the struggling retailer. Departing CEO Louis D'Ambrosio is leaving for personal reasons, but given that Lampert has engineered Sears' strategy for years, it only makes sense that he would take the reins and try to finish the job himself. With his hedge-fund background, though, shareholders may fear that Lampert will merely focus on asset sales rather than trying to foster the business.
Finally, Fusion-io (UNKNOWN: FIO.DL ) fell nearly 10% as an analyst downgraded shares of the enterprise-flash memory company. As Fool contributor Evan Niu discussed earlier today, alternatives from Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) and the prospect of further competition could hurt the fast-growing cloud play going forward.
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