As investors wait for news from Cyprus, they seem to have missed another strong jobs report this morning. The Department of Labor released its initial jobless claims report today, and while claims did rise, it was only a 2,000-claim increase. For the week ending March 16, 336,000 individuals filed initial jobless claims, and the four-week moving average fell by 7,500 claims to 339,750.
But that wasn’t enough to get the markets moving higher, and as of 12:55 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 46 points, or 0.31%. The S&P 500 is performing slightly worse, down 0.35%, and the NASDAQ has fallen the furthest, down 0.56%.
Today's Dow downers
2013's darling of the Dow, Hewlett-Packard , is moderately lower today. At yesterday's shareholder meeting, all of the board members were re-elected even though a number of investors and activists wanted those involved in the acquisition of Autonomy -- the software company for which HP overpaid by $8 billion -- to be removed. However, all of the members in question managed to earn majority votes in their favor.
Those investors who wanted new board members are likely selling today, even though the board raised the dividend by 10% -- or perhaps because the dividend was raised. HP is in the midst of a turnaround, and global PC sales are flatlining, so the company may need all the cash it can get if the economy turns south again before Meg Whitman has righted the ship.
Shares of Intel are lower by 0.69% after analysts from both Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase published cautious reports this morning. Citigroup's Glen Young cut his first- and second-quarter revenue estimates, while JPMorgan's Christopher Danely noted that PC shipments to Asian countries will grow at lower-than-normal rates. Both analysts believe results will come in lower than Intel's guidance and consensus estimates.
Currently, however, Cisco is not only the Dow's worst-performing technology stock, but also the index's worst-performing component, with shares down 3.8%. Like Intel, Cisco was recently downgraded, but that cannot fully account for this massive drop today. Oracle , one of Cisco's closest competitors, is down 8.3% today after reporting last night that it is seeing weak demand in virtually all of its operating segments. Cisco and Oracle compete in all of the same areas with similar products and offerings. Oracle's weak performance could mean that Cisco is gaining market share, but based on today's stock performance, I think it's safe to say investors feel that the market for these tech devices is weakening.
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