Nike's Earnings Bounce Can't Stop the Dow's Plunge

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The markets are ending the week in a bad way as stocks fall into the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has lost more than 75 points as of 2:15 p.m. EDT as Wall Street shifts uncertainly around Capitol Hill's budget talks. Investors can't change politics, but a few stocks are making big waves on the Dow that you need to keep an eye on. Nike's (NYSE: NKE  ) racing higher despite the Dow's drop after its earnings release yesterday. Let's check in on what you need to know.

Nike hits a high
Nike's stock has jumped about 5% today after strong results yesterday impressed Wall Street. The company's net income rose 38% for thefiscal first quarter, and an earnings per share of $0.86 topped analyst projections by a full $0.08. Revenue also jumped for the company, shooting higher by 8% to top analyst projections.

Europe particularly drove Nike's quarter, with Western European revenue jumping 8% and Eastern and Central European sales up 10%. North American sales also spiked by 9%, and the results from around the Atlantic helped offset continuing weakness in China that's plagued Nike in more disappointing quarters in the recent past. Revenue in China fell again, dropping 3% for the quarter.

Credit one of the company's strongest brands for helping sales rise. Nike's Converse brand jumped high, with sales up 16% alone. The stock's strong performance year to date makes Nike one of the best-performing picks on the Dow, and today's gains should keep investors happy.

Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) also on the move today, with shares up about 1.9% to rank among the few Dow stocks headed higher. Reports from tech site AllThingsD have circulated that the company is considering Ford (NYSE: F  ) CEO Alan Mulally to succeed outgoing chief Steve Ballmer as Microsoft's head. Mulally joined Ford in 2006 and has helped the automaker push through the recession. Ford succeeded despite avoiding a government bailout during that time and has bounced back to reporting its best sales month in years in August, a factor that led to the company to raise fourth-quarter production. Ford's stock has risen more than 70% over just the past two years.

It's understandable that Microsoft wants some of those gains, but Ford representatives so far have denied any changes to the company's outlook. Even if Mulally did jump ship, he'd face a company in need of change as Microsoft's lackluster attempts to push higher in the consumer tech and hardware industries have shown. The company's huge acquisition of Nokia's mobile business will also present Ballmer's successor with a monumental challenge of integrating this new business into Microsoft's successful business software and server segments, which have remained the company's top sellers despite its attempts to diversify across the tech world.

Microsoft's Tech Fight
Microsoft's in a tense battle for dominance in its industry. The tech world has been thrown into chaos as the biggest titans invade one another's turf. At stake is the future of a trillion-dollar revolution: mobile. To find out which of these giants is set to rule the next decade, we've created a free report called "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" Inside, you'll find out which companies are set to dominate, and we'll give in-the-know investors an edge. To grab a copy of this report, simply click here -- it's free!


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