Dow Ends the Week With a Whimper as Verizon Drops

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

After yesterday's plunge, the markets are back in the red today, though by a much slimmer margin. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 45 points as of 2:15 p.m. EDT, with the majority of the blue-chip index's stocks in the red. A few stocks are getting their way today, but Verizon's big fall is giving shareholders headaches. Let's look into what you need to know about today's Dow.

Verizon leads stocks down
Verizon has fallen off by 2.4% today, separating itself from the rest of the Dow's losers in a big way. Much had been made about the firm's attempts to buy its way into the Canadian market, but Verizon announced earlier that it will hold off on its acquisitions of Canadian telecom providers Wind Mobile and Mobility until a later date. Some of Canada's native telecom companies had argued against the intrusion of the U.S.' largest wireless-provider, and Canadian firm Telus attempted its own acquisition of the two firms -- a deal that was rejected by government regulators.

Still, there's big news for Verizon customers and shareholders ahead. HTC's flagship phone, the HTC One, will arrive for Verizon Wireless on Aug. 22. The phone has already been released for several of Verizon's competitors, including AT&T . It's one more launch that should help Verizon continue to advance its lead on AT&T, its top rival. Verizon boasted of 118 million subscribers in its most recent quarterly report -- a full 10 million more than AT&T, which has struggled to keep up with the leader.

Pfizer's having an equally gloomy day after the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, or NICE, recommended against its lung cancer drug Xalkori based on its cost. Pfizer's shares are down 1.7% so far on the news. Xalkori is a key to Pfizer's attempts to beat the negative impact that patent expirations have had on sales. Former blockbuster cholesterol-fighting drug Lipitor has taken a bite out of Pfizer's finances, as Lipitor's patent loss cost the drug about 60% of its sales year over year in the most recent quarter.

Xalkori's still young, with sales of just $120 million for the first half of the year. However, peak sales estimates have pegged the drug's revenue at up to $2.5 billion in the future -- enough to make the therapy a big part of Pfizer's plans going forward. The U.K.'s only a minor piece of Pfizer's overall sales portfolio, but if NICE's recommendation against the drug leads to rejection, it's still a blow to Xalkori's potential.

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