The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is following markets in Asia and Europe lower today. As of 1:20 p.m. EDT the Dow is down 58 points, or 0.39%, to 15,064. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is down 0.38% to 1,620.
There were no U.S. economic releases today. The Dow opened 100 points higher before falling nearly 200 points to where it sits now. And it looks like volatility is back: The VIX (VOLATILITYINDICES: ^VIX) is up 4.4%.
So what does this mean for long-term investors? Well, the past two days' drops bring us down to a level not seen since...last Thursday. Yawn. Remember not to let yourself get caught up in the day-to-day market movements. Focus on companies' long term prospects and the news that affects them.
Today's Dow leader
Today's Dow leader is Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), up 3.6%. HP recently signed a deal with Google that will allow the PC maker to sell PCs preprogrammed with Google software. The main reason the stock is up today, however, appears to be CEO Meg Whitman's CNBC appearance this morning. She said that revenue growth was possible for the company this year despite the broad decline of PC sales, which plummeted 14% in the first quarter of this year -- their biggest drop ever. She also discussed her turnaround of the company and how she believes it is on track.
Second for the Dow today is Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), up 0.8%. The health care sector is one of the few bright spots of this dreary trading session. The sector is more stable than the market, as its results are not so dependent on the world economy. Pfizer in particular has won a $2.15 billion lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TEVA) and Sun Pharmaceutical over their selling of generic Protonix before the drug's U.S. patent had expired. Teva will pay $1.6 billion, while Sun will pay $550 million.
Also fighting the Dow's undertow today is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), up 0.6%. Microsoft stock hasn't been affected by the HP news, but it could become a problem if users start dropping Microsoft Office in favor of Google apps. Further, Microsoft has been in the news a lot lately due to the outrage its Xbox One console has sparked among gamers. Unless something changes between now and launch, Microsoft may be shooting itself in the foot with some of the announced "features" of the Xbox One, including a requirement that the Xbox connect with Microsoft servers once per day and that games be stored online so that they cannot be exchanged with others or sold. Many also complain that the device is trying to be too much to too many people and is losing its core gamer customers. At the E3 conference this week, SNE has been doing all it can to differentiate its upcoming PS4 from the Xbox One.
Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. 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 disclosure policy.