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Microsoft's Increase Not Enough to Counteract the Declines of Chevron, Exxon, and Visa

By Matt Thalman - Jan 31, 2014 at 9:00PM

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Consumer sentiment falls from December to January and so did the markets.

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

It was another bad day on Wall Street as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.86%) lost 149 points, or 0.94%, the S&P 500 fell 0.65%, and the Nasdaq declined 0.47%. Those moves came despite the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment figure hitting 81.2 for January, which is better than the preliminary monthly reading, at 80.4. But even though the figure rose during the month, it was still below the 82.5 from December.

One big winner within the Dow was Microsoft (MSFT -1.39%), as shares rose 2.66%. The move came after reports began to break that the company's search for a new CEO was over. It's believed that Microsoft veteran Satya Nadella would be taking over the top job when current CEO Steve Ballmer hangs up his hat. Shares have been languishing for some time as investors anxiously awaited an announcement of who would take over the job. After Ford's CEO Alan Mulally publicly announced he would not be taking the job, shares fell a few percent, so today's move higher shouldn't really be considered a win, just a move back to even.

On the other side of the coin, shares of Chevron (CVX -0.84%), ExxonMobil (XOM -0.32%), and Visa (V -1.13%) all helped pull the blue chip index lower today as they fell 4.14%, 1.95%, and 2.47%, respectively. Not only were these three stocks big percentage losers today, but due to their share prices, the three represent 17.48% of the Dow; when they fall, the overall index likely follows, as it did today.

The oil stocks fell after Chevron reported earnings this morning and reported a 32% decline to net earnings after revenue dropped 4% during the quarter when compared to the same time period last year. The drop was the result of lower global fuel prices and a decline in overall production. The company is looking to cut costs by roughly $2 billion in the coming year, but it's future production and profits are not very clear at this time; increased uncertainty means a lower stock price. 

ExxonMobil and Visa were both victims of their industry today. Chevron's poor performance raised concerns from Exxon investors about how it will deal with the future, while Visa's drop came after MasterCard reported earnings that missed on both the top and bottom lines, but more importantly saw a 21% increase on the expense line. A large part of that increase came from litigation expenses and, while this may be an issue only MasterCard is experiencing, it could be something the whole credit card industry will have to deal with in the future. 

Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Visa. 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.

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Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$33,706.74 (-0.86%) $-292.30
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$286.15 (-1.39%) $-4.02
Exxon Mobil Corporation Stock Quote
Exxon Mobil Corporation
XOM
$94.08 (-0.32%) $0.30
Chevron Corporation Stock Quote
Chevron Corporation
CVX
$157.69 (-0.84%) $-1.33
Visa Inc. Stock Quote
Visa Inc.
V
$212.82 (-1.13%) $-2.43

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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