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What's Behind the Dow's Morning Drop

Dan Caplinger
July 20, 2012

Just when you thought that earnings season would continue to dominate the stock market news, the crisis in Europe chose to rear its ugly head. As protesters took to the streets, the euro fell to its lowest levels in nearly two years as investors fear a long recession on the Continent. Yet while European markets fell sharply, the damage to the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) was more limited, as the average was down about 85 points just before 10:45 a.m. EDT.

But earnings continue to move the U.S. market. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) gave up its pre-market gains to fall 1.5% after posting its first-ever quarterly loss. The software giant had already warned that it would write off $6.2 billion attributed to its acquisition of aQuantive five years ago. But the real question is whether its release of Windows 8 later this year will go as well as investors hope, given that the company is increasingly depending on success with the new ope