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.
Stocks are having an up-and-down day if there ever was one. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has swung back and forth since the start of the day, but it hasn’t managed to hit breakeven. As of 2:35 p.m. EDT, the blue-chip index has lost a modest 18 points. Dow components aren’t moving much on the day, but most stocks on the Dow are in the red. Let’s catch up on the stock action you need to know about.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) looks forward
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is falling today as all eyes continue to watch how the company handles the succession process for outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Whoever follows in his stead will have their work cut out for them, and nowhere is that more evident than in the company’s recent product launches.
Price cuts to the company’s lagging Surface Pro tablets were set to expire Thursday, but Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) made those cuts permanent in an attempt to shore up lackluster sales of the tablets. That’s the second price cut already made to the Surface lineup, as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was earlier forced to implement cuts to the Surface RT line back in July. To be fair to the company, the Surface Pro began its life as an expensive product: Its $899 original price was just a shade under the most expensive model of Apple‘s iPad, and the company has had a hard time keeping pace with Apple.
Can these cuts help? Sales have been far below expectations so far, especially considering that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) took a $900 million writedown on the Surface RT. Ultimately, the best course of action for a new Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) chief might be focusing on what this company has always done best. In its most recent fiscal year, Microsoft posted more than 9% sales growth in its server division and also posted slight sales growth in its business division. These are by far the company’s two largest segments by sales, and an increased focus on the company’s core could offset the Surface and other failed attempts to match Apple and other tech leaders.