A struggling Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and a mid-afternoon selloff Tuesday left investors staring a board of losses for yet another day.
MSFT shares lost more than 3% Tuesday after CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Windows chief Steven Sinofsky had left the company on Monday. Sinofsky had been at Microsoft since 1989, overseeing many of the company’s core products — including Office and the recent Windows 8 debut — and was a possible heir apparent to the CEO’s office.
Microsoft’s 3%-plus loss Tuesday was the worst for the Dow, which fell 0.46% to 12,756.18. The Nasdaq dropped 0.7% to 2,883.89, and the S&P 500 shed 0.4% at 1,374.53.
President Obama planned to meet with union leaders today, business leaders on Wednesday, and congressional leaders on Friday to make some headway in the battle to avert steep tax hikes and spending cuts set for the beginning of 2013. For now, though, no news is bad news, as investors seek an end to the “fiscal cliff” uncertainty.
In earnings news, home-improvement retailer Home Depot (NYSE:HD) led the charge, beating both sales and earnings estimates and providing upbeat guidance. Investors were rewarded with a 4% gain today — the best day among Dow components — and extended the company’s year-to-date gains to 50%.
Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) also beat top- and bottom-line expectations, and improved its outlook for the remainder of the year. DKS finished up nearly 5% on the news, and brought Cabelas (NYSE:CAB, +3.1%) and Big Five (NASDAQ:BGFV, +1.5%) along for the ride.
In the retail sector, Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) joined the party, announcing revenue and earnings gains that also beat the Street estimates, while Saks (NYSE:SKS) reported in-line earnings but fell short on revenue, while also lowering sales guidance for Q4. Both retailers finished up fractionally.
Shares of Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST) rose nearly 3% after the company announced plans to repurchase up to $250 million worth of its own common stock. Meanwhile, shares of JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) continue to head south, with 4% losses helping JCP shares touch a second 52-week low in as many days.
Finally, in after-hours trading, Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) was up more than 6% as the company beat Street estimates on revenues and earning for its fiscal first quarter.
- Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE): Up 10.8% ($1.20) to $12.26.
- Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD): Up 5% (10 cents) to $2.09.
- OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX): Up 4.7% (38 cents) to $8.41.
- Nii (NASDAQ:NIHD): Down 11.1% (64 cents) to $5.11.
- Mako Surgical (NASDAQ:MAKO): Down 9.1% ($1.32) to $13.21.
- Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU): Down 5.7% ($6) to $98.60.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long MSFT.