Can Facebook Stop the Dow's Slow-Motion Crash?

After a pair of 200-point slides so far this week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) was clearly looking for some positive news to give it a break from its dreary performance. Surprisingly, that good news came from Facebook (NAS: FB) , the much-maligned social-media giant that had cost IPO investors more than half of their initial investment at the stock's lows. After announcing third-quarter results that emphasized the future potential growth from its mobile-advertising segment, Facebook soared more than 20%. Add in some strong numbers on the housing front, and the Dow was able to make a modest gain of 43 points by 10:45 a.m. EDT.

Not all of the earnings news was positive, though. Dow component AT&T (NYS: T) was down 0.7% after posting a mixed picture for investors. The telecom company had higher earnings per share than analysts had expected, but it only added 151,000 new mobile contract customers -- less than half the consensus estimate. The good news for the company is that its higher-priced data plans seem to be gaining traction as it boosts revenue per customer, but AT&T needs to get more customers in the door for that strategy to be successful.

Boeing (NYS: BA) , on the other hand, jumped almost 1.5% after handily beating expectations in its third-quarter report and lifting its full-year earnings guidance from a range of $4.40 to $4.60 to a range of $4.80 to $4.95. Perhaps most importantly, Boeing delivered 22 more planes than it did in the year-ago quarter, easing concerns that production backlogs could lead to future problems in delivering the huge orders it has received lately.

Finally, Cisco Systems (NAS: CSCO) fell nearly 1.5% after rival Juniper Networks reported earnings late yesterday. Although Juniper beat estimates, it issued a downbeat forecast for the fourth quarter, pushing both profit and revenue guidance downward. Juniper fell 4.5%. As competition remains fierce, both Cisco and Juniper will continue having to struggle to find growth despite the huge opportunities that technological innovation continues to provide in the space.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of and call options on Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Facebook and AT&T. 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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