The Dow Misses New Records As Nike, Visa Fall

The Dow Jones Industrials failed to set a new record high on Tuesday, falling by 21 points. Bond rates rose substantially as investors generally awaited further news about the economy and wondered whether growth will accelerate sharply from the 1% decline in U.S. gross domestic product during the first quarter. Helping to lead the Dow downward were Nike and Visa , with both companies facing the challenges of catering to a world audience as they work to enhance their global brand value in the highest-profile events available.

Source: Nike.

For Nike, today's 1.5% drop comes with less than two weeks before Brazil's 2014 FIFA World Cup begins. The athletic-apparel giant has staked a lot on the World Cup and on soccer generally, with a massive campaign to bolster its presence in what has traditionally been an area in which chief global rival Adidas has held supremacy. Nevertheless, by using its typical strategy of inking sponsorship deals with some of the best teams and players in the tournament, Nike hopes to get as much publicity as possible from the World Cup event. Although those in the U.S. might downplay the importance of the World Cup, the popularity of the sport around the world gives Nike a rare occasion to spotlight its offerings on a global stage and impress investors with its growth strategies.

Meanwhile, Visa fell 1% on Tuesday. Visa also thrives at international events, with its sponsorship of the Olympic Games generally working to enhance its image as a card network that works across the globe. Yet another factor hitting Visa today came from the announcement that its chief financial officer intends to retire within the next year, forcing the card-network giant into a leadership transition at a critical time for the company. In addition, Visa announced today that it would take steps to offer a designation for prepaid cards, trying to make fee schedules simpler to understand and generally addressing concerns among consumer advocates that prepaid card costs are too high. Whether that will prove to be a long-term positive move for Visa remains to be seen, and Visa will have to work hard to ensure that it doesn't dissuade would-be prepaid-card issuers from participating in the market entirely. After all, Visa profits from spending activity on cards regardless of what fees their issuers impose, and so the card-network giant has to walk a fine line between keeping regulators happy about its products and allowing its issuing financial institutions to maximize their own profits.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Nike and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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