Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ), The Home Depot, Inc. (HD), Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW): Dow Slips Further Following the Fed’s Release

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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 have taken a turn for the worse this afternoon. The markets briefly plunged following the release of the Federal Open Market Committee’s most recent meeting minutes, but they bounced back somewhat to sit slightly below their earlier levels. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) has lost about 70 points as of 2:25 p.m. EDT.

The Fed announced that it’s on pace to wind down its “quantitative easing” program by the end of the year, citing a likely economic improvement later in 2013, but that’s hardly news. And for long-term investors committed to holding stocks well into the future, it shouldn’t shake your portfolio to the core. Let’s catch up on the stock action you need to know about.

Hewlett-Packard CompanyHP sours before earnings
Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)
is leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) downward today, with shares falling 2.2% so far. The beleaguered tech company will release earnings results after the closing bell today, and all eyes are watching for signs of whether CEO Meg Whitman’s attempts to turn the company around are working.

What should you be on the lookout for from Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)? Analysts’ average estimates predict that the company’s earnings will decline 14% year over year for the quarter, while revenue is expected to drop 8%. That would be disheartening, but considering that HP lost 10% in revenue for the first quarter, it’s a modest upward tick from more downbeat numbers.

Watch closely to see whether Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) can move forward in any of its more promising divisions. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s PC sales have slumped as the industry as a whole declines: Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s notebook sales fell by more than 30% in the first quarter, and desktop sales fell by 23%. Even Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s infrastructure technology and business services offerings fell in the first quarter, and areas like those, as well as high-growth fields such as data centers, will be crucial to the tech firm’s turnaround.

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