Watch stocks you care about
The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...
Your own personalized stock watchlist!
It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...
For the eighth consecutive day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) has ended the day higher or lower by 100 points. Today, the market tanked, and lost 353 points, or 2.34%. Over the past two days, the index is now down more than 550 points and is well below the 15,000 mark, as its now sits at 14,758. Today also marks the largest one-day fall that the index has seen since November of 2011. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also performed terribly today, losing 2.5% and 2.28%, respectively.
But, despite the massive loses today, one economic data point that was released today painted a good picture of the economy. The National Association of Realtors announced that existing home sales rose by 4.8% in May compared to April, and 12.9% compared to May 2012. This is a great sign that the economy is moving forward, and that Americans are optimistic enough about the future that they are willing to purchase homes and, in most cases, go into debt to do so. But this wasn't enough to overcome the high jobless claims number, and investors fear that the Federal Reserve will soon cut off its bond-buying stimulus program.
A sea of red on the Dow
The best-performing Dow component of the day was Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO ) , which "only" declined 0.99% this afternoon. Yes, you read that correctly; a nearly 1% decline in value helped Cisco become the best performer of the day. Sixteen of the Dow's 30 components fell between 2% and 3% in value today, while another six stocks lost 3% or more. One reason Cisco may have performed better than its fellow components was the announcement that the company will acquire Composite Software for $180 million. The software company specializes in taking data from multiple storage locations and making it seem to the user that it was all stored in one centralized place.
Another company which made a big announcement, but couldn't save its own shares from tanking, was Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) , which changed its policies on its new Xbox One gaming console. One of the biggest changes was that Microsoft reversed its policy on used games. Previously, the company wasn't going to allow the sale or trading of games, but Microsoft has now said that it will not have any restrictions on games. This change of heart may not have helped big softy, but it did help shares of Game Stop (NYSE: GME ) today. The retailer, which sells new and used video games, saw its shares jump 6.25% today on news about the Xbox One. Microsoft fell 3.18%.
Outside the Dow, we saw homebuilders take massive hits today. Shares of Pulte Home's fell 9.1%, while D.R Horton dropped 9.09%, and Lennar slid lower by 7.69%. Despite the positive housing news from May, investors are now concerned with the effect that rising interest rates will have on the housing market and its recovery. For years, low housing prices and low rates have made homeownership affordable for many American's. But, as prices and rates begin climbing, investors fear that new home sales will slow down, as possible buyers are priced out of the market.
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 a new premium report on Microsoft, a Motley Fool analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, so are the challenges. The report includes regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.