We made it to the end of another week and to the end of another streak. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) closing higher today, it broke a four-day stretch in which the index lost 273 points. As the closing bell rang, the Dow sat at 12,588, up 45 points, or 0.37%, for the day. The Dow's move higher today was a direct result of what many viewed as a positive outcome from a meeting between President Obama and top Republican lawmakers.
Only eight of the Dow's 30 components ended the trading session in the red today. This afternoon, I discussed why Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), AT&T (NYSE: T), and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) all moved lower. Read about those three companies by clicking here, or stick around to learn why Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Boeing (NYSE: BA) also moved lower.
So why did they fall?
Shares of Wal-Mart continued to decline today. After losing 3.6% yesterday, the stock lost another 1% today. Not only did the company announce poor earnings for the third quarter, its closest competitor, Target (NYSE: TGT), announced great earnings on the same day, and the company announced that it was being investigated by the SEC in not only Mexico, but also Brazil, India, and China. In April, it was reported that Wal-Mart was being investigated in Mexico for claims of bribery and, since then, the share price has increased dramatically, and actually hit an all time high back in October. Now that the problems seem to be more widespread, shareholders are bailing on the company fast.
Microsoft moved lower by 0.52%. Management, shareholders, and computer manufactures have all been patiently waiting for Windows 8 to save the struggling PC industry and boost the software company higher. But, unfortunately, that doesn't seem like it will happen. PC makers have been limping along for some time now, and many hoped that a Windows 8 refresh would help move merchandise, which would be good for both the PC companies and Microsoft. But after yesterday's earnings report from Dell (NASDAQ:DELL.DL), it doesn't look good for either party. Not only were Dell's top-line sales down, but management believes the future for the PC market looks challenging.
Finally, Boeing lost 0.38% today. Sometimes what you see on the surface is only half the story, and that may be the current situation with Boeing. The company recently increased production rates of its 737 planes from 31 to 35 per month. The increase in production comes at a time when the company has a nearly seven-year backlog of 737s, and that's if current production doesn't have any delays. Fool analyst Rich Smith recently explained why the backlog is a problem. He states that competitors are moving into the market, and orders are beginning to be cut for the coveted 737. Additionally, problems will arise if the company builds new plants or converts others, and then demand falls off a cliff.