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For the majority of the day, the major U.S. indexes were bouncing from positive to negative, but relatively flat, until 2:00 p.m. EST, when a supposed internal memo from a Wal-Mart vice president was leaked, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) quickly dropped from around 13,970 to 13,906. Bloomberg quoted the employee saying "In case you haven't seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster." Those words were all investors needed to quickly sell-off the market but, by the time the closing bell rang, the Dow was back in the green, closing eight points higher than where it started this morning. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ, along with 13 Dow components, weren't quite as lucky, as the two indexes closed down 0.1% and 0.21%, respectively.
What Dow stocks dropped and why?
Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) closed lower by 0.31% today. Yesterday, Procter & Gamble became the most recent company to change their estimated earnings per share for the current quarter due to Venezuela's currency devaluation last Friday. The company claims it will take a hit of anywhere between $200 million to upwards of $275 million because of this change. Management now believes it will report earnings per share between $0.90 to $0.96, down from $0.91 to $0.97. Additionally, full 2013 estimate was lowered from $3.97 to $4.07, down to $3.94 to $4.04 per share.
Shares of American Express (NYSE: AXP ) ended the day down 1.04%, as the financial sector as a whole moved lower. I mentioned earlier today why JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America were trading lower and, while macro issues likely played a part in American Express sliding lower, another factor was the higher delinquency rates the company experienced in January. In December, Amex had a 1.2 delinquency rate, and that rose to 1.3 in January. This was likely due to the increased payroll taxes all American's experienced as the New Year rolled in, and that are now here to stay.
Shares of Big Softy, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) , also dropped 0.11% today, and are now trading at $28.01. Yesterday, my Fool Colleague Evan Niu pointed out a few interesting comments that the company's CFO Peter Klein said at the Technology and Internet Conference earlier this week; to read the full article click here. In short, Evan believes the company may soon be releasing a smaller version of the Surface tablet and, perhaps, even other devices which run on the Windows 8 mobile operating system. Microsoft is already behind the eight ball when it comes to mobile and, while I don't think adding different devices to the market will hurt the company, I'm not sure how much it will help grow its mobile market share.
More Foolish insight
It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft, our analyst explains that, while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.