By Carlos Guillen
Equity markets are continuing to slowly turn lower but are still not giving up, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average started today's trading session sharply lower, falling below support levels but quickly recovering above the 14,500 mark. However, the S&P 500 is moving the opposite direction, moving strongly higher.
Putting significant pressure on the Dow today is International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) as its shares are down over 7 percent after the company missed Wall Street's forecast for both revenue and earnings in its first quarter report posted yesterday after the closing bell. Dow component General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) is also contributing to the index's pressure as its shares are down over 3.5 percent after the jet-engine manufacturer reported financial results for the March quarter, which ironically were better than the Street's expectations. However, the company did warn of slowing profit growth in its industrial businesses as a result of weakness in Europe and sliding turbine sales, making investors nervous and causing a sell-off in the shares.
On the positive side of things, helping to partially offset the Dow's downward trend are shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) as they are up over 3 percent after the company posted better than expected earnings per share and in line revenues. However, Microsoft came in below expectations on the all-important Windows segment during the quarter, as comments continue to circulate in reference to a strong deceleration in PC sales, not to mention the lack of excitement around the new Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet.
At the moment the Dow is holding steady but still down over 15 points, testing support at the 14,500 level while the S&P is up more than 10 points, or 0.7%. With news media still focused on the manhunt currently taking place in Boston and with the lack of significant economic items, we expect stock markets to remain settled to the rest of the session.