Taper Talk Couldn’t Stop the Dow on Friday the 13th

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.

After a three-day streak during which the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) lost 286 points, or 1.78%, the blue chip indexes managed to buck the trend today and post a slight win for the final trading session of the week, as it closed higher by 15 points, or 0.1%. As for the S&P 500, it closed lower again today, but only by 0.01%, while the Nasdaq managed to pull ahead by 0.06%. Fear of the Federal Reserve tapering at its upcoming meeting on December 17 and 18 has ruled Wall Street this week, as many believe Ben Bernanke's farewell will be the announcement that the central bank is cutting back on its $85 billion a month bond-buying program.

Many investors began adjusting their portfolios by taking money off the table this week; today, this caused stocks to decline. Some companies, however, dealt with individual problems, which caused their shares to move. Let's take a look at three companies today that made news headlines.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) had a rough day today as shares fell 1.42%, which was enough to make big softy the worst-performing Dow component of the day. The move came after Qualcomm announced that it was promoting its current COO Steve Mollenkopf to CEO. The reason this hurt Microsoft was that Mollenkopf was on a short list of individuals who many believed were possible candidates to take the top spot at Microsoft, replacing Steve Ballmer. Furthermore, rumors were floating about that Mollenkopf was currently the front-runner for the job. 

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) was the second biggest Dow loser of the day, as shares fell 1.32%. The move was a continuation from yesterday, when the stock lost 1.77% after the company lowered its long-term earnings and revenue forecasts. Management lowered Cisco's three-to-five year revenue growth rate to 3% to 6% down from a previous forecast of 5% to 7%. Earnings-per-share growth was lowered from a range of 7% to 9% down to 5% to 7%. The company had already told investors the next few quarters would be a struggle, so telling them now that the next few years aren't going to be great either has shareholders reconsidering their investments. 

Outside the Dow, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS  ) made news today as the company announced it would no longer be pursuing a $30 billion casino-resort outside of Madrid, Spain. The change in strategy comes because Sands believes it would not be able to meet the criteria needed to complete this large of a project at this time. Instead, the company stated that, while it still has dreams of opening a European casino-resort, it will focus its energy and attention at this time on expanding its operations in Asia, where the company already has casinos in Macau and Singapore. Shares of Las Vegas Sands closed the day higher by 0.51%. 

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