Chevron's Earnings Put a Dent in the Dow

Chevron earnings miss the mark as Microsoft keeps the Dow from bigger losses -- and possibly prepares to announce a new CEO.

Jan 31, 2014 at 2:31PM

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.

Today is a great reminder of why the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (DJINDICES:^DJI) movements can be deceptive to the average investor. While the Dow has dropped 65points as of 2:30 p.m. EST, the price-weighted nature of the index means that the stocks with the highest prices have the most impact on the daily shifts. Enter Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Visa, two-high priced blue-chip stocks that have hit big slumps today, respectively losing 3.5% and 2%, and have transformed a so-so day from the rest of the Dow into a bad one for the index. Meanwhile, Dow component Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has gained about  2.3%. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Chevron's earnings disappoint
Chevron's drop comes after the energy giant released quarterly earnings this morning. The Big Oil company announced a 32% fall in net earnings, with revenue down more than 4% year over year behind weaker production and falling global crude prices. Overall production at the company slid to 2.58 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, leading to a miss on both the bottom and top lines on analyst projections. Chevron's looking to cut capital expenditure by $2 billion in the new year to compensate, but investors in this big oil company are presently looking toward a future with murky demand and cloudy prospects.

Some of the biggest news around the Dow has come from today's index leader. Reports emerged late yesterday that Microsoft has selected company veteran Satya Nadella as its new CEO, ending a months-long chase to find a new leader for the company in the wake of Steve Ballmer's announced retirement.

Nadella, who leads Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, could bring a conservative leadership style and stable approach to the company as a decades-long insider. His grip on online services comes as Microsoft's traditional business and software divisions look to keep growth coming at the company, although Nadella will quickly face the challenge of keeping Microsoft's nascent consumer business on the upswing. Microsoft more than doubled its Surface tablet sales in the most recent quarter sequentially, but that still hasn't been enough to boost the company's push to join the clear leaders in the mobile space.

Perhaps the biggest news on the markets today comes from outside the Dow. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock has plunged nearly 10% after the company reported earnings of its own yesterday following the closing bell. Amazon missed analyst projections on both the top and bottom lines despite a 20% growth in quarterly revenue and a 22% growth in full-year revenue for 2013. That's pushed the company to consider a possible Amazon Prime price as the company looks to maintain its dominance while bringing in more cash. So far, it hasn't impressed investors today.

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Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Chevron, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, 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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