RTTNews - Stocks are sliding by notable margins in morning trading on Friday, as earnings from tech-giant Microsoft (MSFT) have deflated the mood on Wall Street. The major averages are all in negative territory, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the way lower.
Earlier, traders reacted to disappointing quarterly figures from Microsoft, which reported an annual drop in sales of Windows for the first time. Meanwhile, American Express (AXP), Amazon.com (AMZN), Black & Decker (BDK), Schlumberger (SLB) and others reported a mixed bag of results.
Traders largely shrugged off a mixed report from Reuters and the University of Michigan, which showed that their reading on consumer sentiment for the month of July was upwardly revised from the preliminary reading but still came in well below the previous month.
The report showed that consumer sentiment index for July came in at 66.0 compared to the preliminary reading of 64.6, although it remains below a reading of 70.8 for June. Economists had expected the index to be revised up to 65.0.
The major averages are currently stuck in the red, although well off their worst levels of the day. The Dow is currently down 32.05 at 9,037.24, the Nasdaq is down 28.67 at 1,944.93 and the S&P 500 is down 7.37 at 968.92.
Tech stocks are dragging down the broader markets after earnings from Microsoft generated some selling pressure. Electronic storage, networking and semiconductor stocks are showing sharp declines, offsetting some of their recent gains. Notably, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index is down by 3.5 percent, backing off of its best closing level in over nine months.
Further, banking and housing stocks are also retreating, with the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index and the Kbw Banking Index slipping by 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. The housing index is pulling off of its best closing level in two months, while the banking index remains in a recent range.
Retail, commercial real estate, and oil service stocks are also moving to the downside, while healthcare provider and health insurance stocks are bucking the day's downtrend. The move in healthcare related stocks comes amid indications that a decision on health care reform will be delayed until at least the fall.
Stocks Driven By Analyst Comments
Despite the weakness in the broader markets, RadioShack (RSH) is gaining by a notable margin in mid-morning trading after FBR Capital Markets and RBC Capital Markets upgraded the stock to Outperform. The brokers cited the firm's improved wireless segment as a reason for the upgrades. The stock is up by 7.9 percent, rising to its best intraday price in over nine months.
Shares of Temple-Inland (TIN) are also on the rise after being upgraded by UBS from Neutral to Buy. The stock is up by 6.6 percent, reaching its highest intraday level in over nine months.
On the other hand, shares of financial service provider Charles Schwab (SCHW) are sliding after being downgraded to Hold from Buy by Citigroup. The broker also reduced its target price on the stock to $18 from $20. The stock is down by 4.2 percent, but it remains stuck in roughly a two-month trading range.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region finished on the upside on Friday. While Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index posted a 1.6 percent gain, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance, with the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index down by 0.5 and 0.2 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent.
In the bond markets, treasuries continue to see strength amid the pullback on Wall Street. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note is trading at 3.67 percent, posting a loss of 3.9 basis points on the day.
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