Dow Continues to Break Records

After the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) set an all-time closing high yesterday, many investors were expecting the index to slightly pull-back today. But the Dow actually managed to not only open and close higher, but it also never fell into negative territory today. The Dow finished the trading session up 42 points, or 0.3%, and now sits at 14,296 after hitting an intraday high of 14,320.

Although a number of its components traded in the red throughout the day, only eight of its 30 stocks were down when the closing bell rang at 4 p.m. EST.

The Dow's downers
Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) fell by 0.92% during today's trading session, after European Union regulators fined the company more than $732 million. The EU found Microsoft failed to comply with commitments it had made with the EU during an antitrust case back in 2009. Microsoft had agreed to offer customers more than just its own Internet Explorer option for Internet browsing. An investigation found that, from May 2011 till July 2012, Microsoft failed to offer more than one browser. The EU could have fined the company up to $7.9 billion, but opted not to penalize Microsoft the full amount at this time.

The Dow's telecommunication companies also fell today. Shares of Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) dropped 0.86%, while AT&T (NYSE: T  ) slid lower by 0.85%. The moves lower were likely caused by the fresh reports that Verizon would like to take full control of the joint venture Verizon Wireless. Currently, Vodafone owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, while Verizon owns the other 55%. Vodafone's 45% stake has been valued at $115 billion.  

Taking full control of Verizon Wireless would saddle Verizon with a huge pile of debt, but it would also give management more flexibility to pursue other options that could strengthen the company in the long-term.

AT&T shareholders are likely concerned that a singly owned Verizon Wireless could become more of a competitive threat in the future, and make bolder moves to gain market share. Owning the entire wireless division would give management the ability to sacrifice profits today, in return for higher market share and larger profits in the future.

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