As we move deeper into earnings season and investors seem to be focusing more on results and less on what the Federal Reserve may or may not do in the coming months, the major indexes all managed to pull out a win today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) closed the day higher by 18 points, or 0.12%, despite fluctuating between positive and negative territory for most of the day. The index now sits at 15,470. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq performed slightly better, gaining 0.28% and 0.32%, respectively, with each staying above water during the whole trading session.
That all happened after the government released housing data this morning indicating that housing starts declined in June, slowing to a seasonally adjusted rate of 836,000, from 928,000 in May. This figure has such a huge impact on the U.S. economy because economists project that for every new home that's built, 1.5 new jobs are created. That's a big deal, with the jobless rate still above 7.5%.
Onward to earnings reports
Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) , Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) , and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) all closed lower today as investors awaited Intel's second-quarter earnings report and a brief insight into what's happening within the PC industry. As the closing bell rang, shares of Microsoft had lost 1.46%, Hewlett-Packard was down 0.53%, and Intel slid lower by 0.41%.
When Intel's report came out, we learned that earnings per share registered at $0.39, in line with analysts' estimates, while revenue was slightly lower than the $12.9 billion Wall Street wanted to see, at $12.8 billion. The bad news is that EPS declined from $0.54 last year, while revenue dropped by 5%. Intel is now forecasting revenue of $13.5 billion for the third quarter while most analysts are looking for sales of $13.7 billion during the current quarter. Shares of Intel are now down 3.6% in the after-hours trading session.
Microsoft and HP continued their descent in after-hours trading, down another 0.28% and 0.42%, respectively. They're in a similar predicament to Intel, as they initially missed out on the mobile revolution and are only now pushing into that market, although they still rely heavily on PC sales to drive revenue and profits. And since Intel warned of a possibly slower-than-expected third quarter, investors are surely feeling that Microsoft and HP will experience similar results from their PC-related businesses.
More Foolish insight
What macro trend was Warren Buffett referring to when he said "this is the tapeworm that's eating at American competitiveness"? Find out in our free report: "What's Really Eating at America's Competitiveness." You'll also discover an idea to profit as companies work to eradicate this efficiency-sucking tapeworm. Just click here for free, immediate access.