The Dow Jones Industrial Index (DJINDICES:^DJI) took a serious turn for the worse today, falling 205 points, or 1.52%, to close at 13,343. The market was hampered by disappointing news from a number of major companies, as well as renewed anxiety about Spain's fiscal situation.
McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) led the Dow downwards, taking a 4.5% hit after missing earnings estimates for a second straight quarter. Earnings per share fell 1.4%, and global sales were also down. The company, which has a massive presence overseas, was hurt by a stronger U.S. dollar, and increasing competition.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) was the second biggest loser in the index, as its third quarter also failed to impress investors, and currency headwinds, as with McDonald's, hurt results badly. Shares fell 3.4%. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) also shed more than 3%, as sales for the Windows operating system, its cash cow, slipped.
Outside of the Dow, Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), the second largest maker of PC processors, fell almost 17%, after a disastrous quarter of sales, a massive inventory write-off, and announced layoffs, rumored to take place in the engineering department.
On a macro level, the global markets didn't like the tone of European leaders after a key meeting today, which revolved around the establishment of a new supervisory banking body. Speculation that the talks have lost their urgency was fueled by a lack of specific details given by the leaders afterwards.
About the only consoling fact of the day was that the markets didn't fall 23% in a matter of hours, like they did 25 years ago, on what is now referred to as Black Monday. The worst single day of trading in market history, nobody has ever quite figured out why October 19, 1987 was so historically bearish. At least, today, investors know what went wrong.
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