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The Dow Now: Microsoft Down as Windows 8, Surface Releases Draw Near

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Bank of America and UnitedHealth Group lead gainers.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Fresh off Friday's big plunge, US equity indices stayed relatively flat without market-moving news to lift stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) was down 0.14% to 13,324.66 points as of 12:08 p.m. EDT.

Among the leading Dow gainers on the day was Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which lifted 0.85% to $9.52, bucking the bearish trend among financial stocks. The bellwether Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLF), which tracks all financial stocks in the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), was down 0.19% to $16.08.

Also jumping 0.67% to $56.03 was UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). The health insurance giant reported healthy third quarter results last week, with revenue up 8% from 2011 and earnings up 28% year-on-year. Importantly, the new Dow member raised its outlook for the full year.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) was the day's largest decliner, slipping 2.77% to $21.42. Though GE's third quarter earnings report was solid overall, the management's cautious 2013 outlook had investors worried.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) also lost 1.97% to $28.08 in hitting a new nine-month low. This is an important week for the tech behemoth, as it readies for the launches of its new operating system, Windows 8, and its new Surface tablet. How Windows 8 fares will offer insight into whether or not the weakening demand for PCs is due to secular trends or because consumers were holding out for new software. Investors clearly do not seem convinced that Windows 8 can reverse the secular PC decline.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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