Caterpillar Can't Hold Dow Higher as Visa and Microsoft Fall

Major indexes fall on concerns about the global economy and uncertainty about what the Fed may do.

Jan 27, 2014 at 1:00PM

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.

As investors anxiously wait for the Federal Open Market Committee to say Wednesday whether further economic stimulus tapering will be ordered, the major indexes continue the decline that started last week. As of 1 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 62 points, or 0.39%, the S&P 500 was off by 0.77%, and the Nasdaq was lower by 1.53%.

One big winner within the Dow is Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) which was up nearly 4%. The heavy machinery manufacturer reported earnings this morning; although the company continues to struggle selling its products, and revenue declined 10%, net income came in much higher than analysts expected. Furthermore, the company announced a $10 billion stock buyback program and CEO Doug Oberhelman said he sees signs that the world economy is growing stronger. 

Two big Dow losers his afternoon are Visa (NYSE:V) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which are respectively down 2.6% and 1.8%. Visa's decline comes as more attention is being paid to credit card security following the Target data breach. The FBI last week warned retailers that more hacking cases are likely in the coming weeks and months. The agency said more than 20 cases have been discovered in the past year that involved the same malicious software used to attack Target. These warnings are clearly bad for business for the credit card companies, as more individual's may turn to cash because they are scared their information is not safe. They also act as a drain on company resources as fraudulent activity complaints roll in and new cards have to be sent out to millions of people.  

Microsoft announced this morning that it was purchasing the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games. The move comes just a couple months after the release of Microsoft's Xbox One console; Microsoft wanted to keep Gears of War an exclusive Xbox game. For years the game was only sold for the Xbox, and Microsoft heavily promoted the game and paid Epic Games to keep it that way. This move means the game will never be sold for Sony's PlayStation, but was this the best decision for Microsoft? The company makes the console, but it has never really made a push into the software side of the gaming business, despite Microsoft being one of the largest and best-known software companies in the world. This move could hurt the company in the long run as it will require different personnel and add another distraction for management at a time when its most important piece of software, Windows, is struggling.  

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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