The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) had plunged 130 points as of 11:35 a.m. EDT Friday. Dow Jones component Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was largely unchanged after reporting a solid quarter. In contrast, Pandora's (NYSE:P)disappointing forecast in its earnings report prompted a 13% sell-off, while Yandex (NASDAQ:YNDX) shares fell nearly 10% after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested stricter regulation of the Internet in the nation.
Consumer confidence can't save the Dow
The Dow Jones' decline comes despite some strong economic data. According to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer confidence survey, Americans are feeling better about the economy than economists expected -- a reading of 84.1 exceeded the estimate of 83. While the figure isn't the most crucial of economic data points, a better than expected reading is generally regraded as positive for the U.S. economy, and by extension the stock market. Consumers may be more confident because their economic prospects have improved, and they may be more willing to spend.
Microsoft posts solid quarter
Microsoft was one of the better-performing stocks in the Dow Jones on Friday. Although it wasn't rallying, it held its own, likely due to its latest earnings results. Microsoft's third-quarter report exceeded analysts' expectations on Thursday, with revenue of $20.4 billion a slight beat on the $20.39 billion estimate and earnings per share of $0.68 exceeding the $0.63 estimate.
Microsoft's cloud-based businesses were particularly strong, as enterprise subscriptions to Office 365 and use of the Azure service continue to strengthen. Consumer subscriptions to Office 365 also rose to 4.4 million.
Yandex shrinks on Putin's comments
Yandex, Russia's largest search engine, has faced sell-offs in recent months due to tensions involving the nation. Now comments from Putin appear to be weighing on shares. According to Bloomberg, Putin on Thursday argued that Russia should work to protect its information, suggesting that his government may try to take some control over Russia's Internet.
Putin singled out Yandex in his remarks, noting that the company's headquarters were located outside of Russia and that it faced some foreign regulation. He also said that his government could review Yandex's status as a media institution.
Pandora plunges on weak guidance
For its latest quarter, Pandora posted earnings and revenue that beat analyst expectations, while listener hours totaled 4.8 billion. However, Internet radio company expects to generate revenue of $213 million-$218 million in the current quarter, along with earnings per share of $0.03. Analysts had been looking for a $0.05 EPS.
Given Pandora's already aggressive valuation, it isn't surprising that shares are falling in the wake of this report. The company has struggled to remain profitable over its history, and investors are likely disapointed in this apparent further setback.
R.I.P. Internet -- 1969-2014
At only 45 years old... the Internet will be laid to rest in 2014. And Silicon Valley is thrilled. Because they know... The Economist believes the death of the Internet "will be transformative." In fact, the CEO of Cisco Systems -- one of the largest tech companies on the planet -- says somebody's going to bank "14.4 trillion in profit from one concept alone."
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