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For the seventh straight trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) managed to close higher, and for the fifth straight day, the index set a new record closing price. The blue-chip index rose by another 0.35% today, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both closely followed, gaining 0.32% and 0.26%, respectively.
The bull rally continued today despite the lack of any major economic news. This is a positive sign, since it shows investors don't necessarily need a constant stimulant to move the markets higher. But even as the markets as a whole continue to rise to new heights, a few losers persist.
The Dow's downers
Shares of Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) ended the day lower by 0.07%. With February sales set to be released on Wednesday, and investors expecting a rise of 0.5%, Wal-Mart shareholders may be growing nervous about the strength of the big-box store. The company warned investors that February sales were weaker than expected, and an internal email referring to how terrible February was shaping up is probably looming on stakeholders' minds.
IBM (NYSE: IBM ) closed lower by 0.14% this afternoon. Investors were granted their first peek at IBM's CEO's pay package today: Ginni Rometty received $16.2 million in total compensation in 2012. While this is less than the $31.8 million her predecessor, Sam Palmisano, made during his last year as CEO of Big Blue, it's still a sizable amount of money during a time when sales have been sluggish. The majority of Rometty's pay was in the form of stock awards, which accounted for $9.26 million of the total.
It wasn't a great day for Dow tech stocks, as shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) fell 0.46% after analysts at MKM Partners reduced their price target on the stock. A previous target of $28 per share was cut down to $27, while the firm's rating of neutral remained unchanged. The reduction resulted from a recent decrease in Microsoft's Surface tablet sales estimates, and fears that Windows 8 may not be performing as well as previously expected.
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.