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The Dow Now: Microsoft Slides on Lukewarm Windows 8 Reception


Wal-Mart was the strongest gainer in midday trading.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL With uncertainty over the fiscal cliff talks still heavy in the air, investors stayed cautious on the final trading day of the month, with US equities staying mostly unchanged from Thursday's closing levels.

"The stakes are so high and voters are so frustrated that a deal must be done," said Leo Kelly, managing director and partner at HighTower Kelly Wealth Management, of the discussions between Congress and the White House on a budget deal to avert a series of tax hikes and spending cuts set to begin at the start of 2013, according to TheStreet.

"While the outcome is uncertain, our belief is that the probability favors a resolution, at least a temporary resolution. Therefore, the market should continue to move in a relatively tight trading pattern until it believes it knows the outcome of negotiations on Capitol Hill. Once that uncertainty passes, we can then focus on fundamentals," Kelly continued.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) was down 0.15% to 13,002.00 points as of 12:06 p.m. EST.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) lead all Dow gainers, jumping 1.05% to $71.57.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) was flat at midday at $19.01 . But the stock is the Dow's best November performer, up close to 11% this month, far outpacing second-placed Bank of America (NYSE:BAC).

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) was up 0.82% to $19.69 on the day. For the month, however, the stock was the Dow's worst performer, dipping almost 10%. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) was the next worst with a near-7% drop.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was among the greatest decliners in intraday trading, sliding 1.32% to $26.59. According to a Wall Street Journal report released last night, the tech giant's new Windows 8 operating system has received a lukewarm reception since its introduction in October, and has yet to revitalize the sagging PC market.

Research firm NPD Group looked at data from major retailers such as Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Wal-Mart and found that sales of PCs that run on Microsoft operating systems dropped 21% during the four weeks through November 17 from a year earlier.

"Clearly, Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for," Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for NPD, told the Journal.

Merck (NYSE:MRK) fell 0.96% to $44.28 after news that it is withdrawing the marketing authorization application for its drug, ridaforolimus, to be sold in Europe. According to the Wall St. Cheat Sheet, the firm explained that "the withdrawal of ridaforolimus was due to the provisional view of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use that the data available thus far and provided in the application were insufficient to allow licensure of ridaforolimus in the European Union for the maintenance treatment of patients suffering from soft tissue sarcoma or primary malignant bone tumor."

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) also fell 0.51% to $37.78.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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