What's happening in the headlines can affect you as an investor. Here's what's going on, what you need to know, and what you should do.

The cold, hard facts
Reuters is reporting that the Nasdaq closed Wednesday down 1%, as technology stocks took a beating on news of Oracle's (Nasdaq: ORCL) first earnings miss in 10 years.

Some context
Oracle plunged 12% to end the day at $25.77, and was the top decliner in the Nasdaq 100. The software giant joins a growing list of companies, including some of technology's biggest and oldest names, whose results and outlooks have raised alarm bells about business conditions.

Cisco Systems lost 2.6%, Microsoft dipped 1.02%, and Intel dropped 0.67%. IBM was the biggest drag on the Dow, losing 3.1% on the day, but that index managed to close up, as did the S&P 500.

What you should, and shouldn't, do
If recent GDP and unemployment numbers indicate any sort of a trend, the U.S. is on the very tentative beginnings of an economic recovery, but the markets are still jittery. Eurozone concerns still loom large (and rightly so) in many investors' minds, and every time you turn around it seems another country or bank is getting downgraded.

Relax. This is Oracle's first earnings miss in 10 years, so let's give the company a break. And let's remember that following the herd, in this case a herd of spooked investors, is not properly Foolish behavior. Our advice in times of potential financial turmoil is actually pretty simple: Don't have money in the market you're going to need over the next three to five years, keep an eye on the fundamentals of the companies you're invested in, and stay calm. Like us, you're in it for the long term.

Keep track of what's happening with the stocks mentioned here by adding them to My Watchlist, a free service of The Motley Fool that lets you easily keep up with everything on your investing radar.

Fool contributor John Grgurich loves the news so much he wants to marry it, but he owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, and Oracle. The Motley Fool has sold shares of SPDR S&P 500 short. The Fool owns shares of and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Cisco Systems, Intel, and Microsoft, and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Intel. 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 scintillating disclosure policy.