Stocks Start the Week Down Thanks to Earnings Worries

Stocks are moving lower again today after investors had a a weekend to think about what has happened during earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is down 0.52% near the end of trading, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) has lost 0.48%.

Friday's earnings reports from Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) and General Electric (NYS: GE) have proven to have a lasting impact: The two stocks are leading the Dow's losers, with Microsoft down 2.3% and GE down 3.1% as I write.

Microsoft has investors feeling very skeptical after its earnings miss and ahead of the Windows 8 release. The new operating system is a risky move away from the traditional Windows desktop and has been met with some mixed reviews. One thing that could help the company is the operating system's similarity to its new mobile OS. This will be released along with the new Surface tablet, Microsoft's attempt to compete with Apple's (NAS: AAPL) iPad. For now, the market is skeptical that any of these new products will sway consumers to buy Microsoft devices.

GE has been falling all day on concern over the company's growth. What investors appear to be overlooking is that profits have returned quickly after a rough stretch during the financial crisis, and this stock is a reasonable value. It trades at a trailing P/E ratio of 17 and has a dividend yield of 3.1%, which gives a nice payout for investors with a long horizon. It may not be a growth stock, but in the current economic conditions, even a slight improvement in results is good for GE and, in the long term, investors.

On the positive side, Intel (NAS: INTC) is up nearly 1% after a rough few weeks. The company is struggling with slow PC sales, but it appears to be holding up better than AMD (NYS: AMD) , which is cutting 15% of its workforce. This might be a sign the stock has hit bottom, and investors will again be looking at the value of a P/E ratio under 10 and a 4.2% dividend yield at this chip giant.

When it comes to dominating markets, it doesn't get much better than Intel's position in the PC microprocessor arena. However, that market is maturing, and Intel will find itself in a precarious long-term situation if it doesn't find new avenues for growth. In this premium research report on Intel, our analyst runs through all of the key topics investors should understand regarding the company. Better yet, you'll continue to receive updates as news develops for an entire year. Click here now to learn more.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Intel, Apple, and Microsoft. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, General Electric Company, Intel, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Intel, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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