How Bill Gates Started – Infographic

Bill Gates’s father was a lawyer. A very successful one. His mother a teacher. Reading business magazines in middle school, Bill Jr. had a different dream – to open a company. You could say that’s how he started – with a childish dream. Many kids have dreams, though. How was he different?

How Bill Gates Started – Infographic

Source: Funders and Founders

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Dow 20,000

Dow 20,000 – an incredible milestone! The Dow Jones industrial average is nearing the 20,000 mark for the first time, and when the barrier is broken, Americans watching the evening news, tuning in to the radio or aimlessly browsing the internet will see the headline, whether they care about it or not.

Should investors really care? Should anyone? And the answer is: yes and no.

Regardless of what importance level you assign to Dow 20,000, here are five things everyone should know about Dow 20k.

1. The Economy is Improving and so are Expectations

This one may be obvious, but with the Dow and other stock market indices at all-time highs, things are getting better. Over the last 81 months the private sector has added an impressive 15.6 million jobs, and in November the unemployment rate hit 4.6 percent for the first time since August 2007.

On top of that, when the Federal Reserve raised interest rates interest rates on Dec. 14, Chair Janet Yellen said the hike was “a reflection of the confidence we have in the progress the economy has made and our judgment that progress will continue … the economy has proven to be remarkably resilient.”

Consumer confidence also improved in November, reaching pre-recession levels once again. As expectations improve, you can generally expect to see the stock market rise as well.

2. The Dow Actually Isn’t a Great Reflection of the Business Landscape

If the first point was a little straightforward, this one may be the most misunderstood: The Dow is definitely not the best measure of how American businesses are performing. That 20,000 figure? That’s only based on the share prices of 30 of the largest companies in the U.S.

“The Dow represents 30 large stocks. The S&P 500 represents nearly 17 times that number,” says Kevin Barr, head of investment management at SEI, an investment management firm headquartered in Oaks, Pennsylvania. “Both the Dow and S&P leave out the mid- and small-cap companies that form much of the stock market, which comprises thousands of stocks. While the Dow is commonly cited as a benchmark, investors need to keep its size and scope in mind.”

On top of that, the Dow is a price-weighted average, which means that stocks with higher share prices carry more influence. Nevermind that this is an entirely arbitrary way to do things. Currently, Goldman Sachs Group (GS) carries the heaviest weight in the blue-chip index at 8.38 percent, while Cisco Systems (CSCO) has the lowest weight at 1.06 percent.

Thus, if CSCO jumps 10 percent after a great earnings report, but GS falls just 1.3 percent, the two cancel each other out as far as the Dow is concerned. This despite the fact that at $153 billion, Cisco is actually worth about $56 billion more than Goldman Sachs.

While the S&P 500 is a better measure of how corporate America is doing, a better measure still is the Russell 3000 and Wilshire 5000, which track thousands of smaller stocks and represent essentially the entire U.S. stock market.

Unlike the Dow, the S&P 500, Russell 3000 and Wilshire 5000 are all market capitalization-weighted.

3. Put Dow 20,000 in Perspective

Due to the power of compound interest, 100-point – or even 1,000-point – swings in the Dow don’t mean what they used to.

Think about it this way: The Dow first crossed the 1,000 mark in November 1972. It would take more than 14 years for the Dow to gain the next 1,000 points, which it accomplished when it first broke 2,000 in 1987. In contrast, the Dow hit 19,000 on Nov. 22, and is approaching 20,000 less than a month later.

So if you hear that the Dow went up or down 100 points in a day, don’t put too much stock into it. In 1972, that was a 10 percent move. Today, it’s a half-percent.

4. A Few Minor Changes in the Index’s Constituents Make a Huge Difference

Further adding to the arbitrary nature of the Dow, the index’s 30 constituents aren’t set in stone like many people might think.

Every few years or so, if it’s necessary, the index committee will add some new member(s) to the index; the incoming stocks will often replace stocks or companies that have been faring poorly or are losing influence.

Sometimes, those decisions can seriously hamper the index’s returns.

The Dow, for instance, added Intel Corp. (INTC) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in late 1999, near the height of the dot-com bubble, only to see both crater over the subsequent year. It would take until 2014 for MSFT and INTC to regain their debut Dow levels.

The most recent Dow addition is Apple (AAPL), which replaced AT&T (T) in March of 2015. Since then, Apple is down 6 percent and AT&T shares are up 24 percent.

David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, says companies aren’t added to the index because their stock looks attractive. “We’re not picking stocks that we think are definitely going to go up. I know one guy who can’t pick stocks, and that’s me,” Blitzer says.

“With the Dow we’re looking for large, solid, stable companies,” he says. “Most of them if not all of them are household names, people know who they are, and it’s traditionally blue-chip companies.”

5. Just a Psychological Level

Finally: traders just like to see big, round numbers with lots of zeros after them, and investors do too. Crossing a level like Dow 20,000 has no fundamental importance, but technical and short-term traders, as well as trading algorithms, may put some stock in it.

Over time, we’ll be hitting a lot of these psychological marks, says Jon Ulin, a certified financial planner and managing principal of Ulin & Co. Wealth Management, a branch office of LPL Financial in Boca Raton, Florida.

“Since World War II, the Dow Jones index has averaged about 9 percent per year and will continue to do so hitting new highs over time. Just with a meager 7.2 percent annualized return, we should be ringing in a 40,000 Dow by 2027,” Ulin says.

It’s been 44 years since the Dow first hit 1,000 in 1972. If it takes 44 years for the next Dow 20-bagger, we’ll be ringing in Dow 400,000 in 2060 (which will be another election year).

 

 

 

 

Written by John Divine of U.S. News & World Report

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Microsoft Shares Plunge as Results Show Growth is Elusive in Post-PC Market

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Michael Euler/ AP

The cloud may be the future, but the specter of the PC lingers. Microsoft is the latest tech giant whose earnings say that loud and clear.

Microsoft on Thursday posted substantial drops in revenue and earnings as it continues to navigate from its legacy PC business into emerging technologies — a day after chipmaker Intel announced a 11% workforce reduction. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN.)

The Redmond, Wash.-based company reported a 6% decline in fiscal third-quarter revenue to $20.5 billion. Earnings of $3.8 billion, or 47 cents per share, fell 25%in the same quarter a year ago. Microsoft reported adjusted earnings of 62 cents per share, shy of analyst estimates.

Microsoft (MSFT) shares plunged more than 7% on the news in early trading Friday.

A consensus of analyst reports from S&P Global Market Intelligence anticipated revenue of $22.1 billion and earnings per share of 64 cents. Microsoft’s Q3 revenue guidance was $21.1 billion to $22.3 billion.

The quarterly miss comes as the software giant continues to pursue its years-long gambit to transform itself from a license-fee-focused enterprise closely tied to personal computers to a major play in cloud services, virtual reality, gaming and emerging technologies.

But Microsoft’s future remains unclear after nearly a decade of struggles underscored by declining PC unit shipments. The slowly eroding PC market and tightening IT budgets have punctured revenue for Microsoft and others globally. Sagging PC sales were a major reason why Intel is slashing 12,000 jobs and IBM registered its 16th straight quarter of declining sales.

Microsoft said revenue from Windows software licenses dipped 2% during the March quarter, outperforming the overall PC market.

The computing giant has bet heavily on new technologies, and initial results are promising but uneven. Its cloud business, which includes Azure and server software, rose 3% to $6.1 billion in revenue in the quarter, a shallower growth rate than some expected.

Office 365, its subscription-based suite of productivity services, passed 70 million monthly users. And HoloLens, the company’s space-age holographic computer goggles, has wowed analysts and spurred interest among consumers and corporations such as Volvo and NASA over its possibilities.

Windows 10 is also Microsoft’s fastest-spreading Windows operating system, with more than 270 million installations on computing devices.

Monthly active users of Xbox Live surged 26% from last year, to 46 million.

Since he took over as Microsoft CEO two years ago, Satya Nadella has also cut ties with bum investments in Nokia and struck partnerships with the likes of Salesforce and Apple. The moves have resonated with investors, who have bumped up Microsoft’s stock 30% over the past year.

On Thursday, before the Q3 results were announced, Microsoft shares edged up 0.5% to $55.87.

Written by Jon Swartz of USA Today

(Source: USA Today)

Microsoft’s Build Conference Sold Out in One Minute

Provided by The Verge

Ticket’s to Microsoft’s annual developers conference have sold out in record time this year. Microsoft sold out of its allocation of tickets in around 20 minutes last year, but tickets disappeared in just a minute today. Developers now have to sign-up to a waiting list to try and get tickets. The conference takes place on March 30th through April 1st in San Francisco, and is designed to provide the first look at the future of a lot of Microsoft’s software for 2016.

While the price has increased from $2,095 to $2,195 to attend this year, a lack of free hardware giveaway has clearly not discouraged developers from attending. It’s not clear exactly what Microsoft will cover in its Build keynote this year, but expect to hear a lot more about updates to Windows 10, cloud services, and perhaps some more apps coming to multiple platforms.

Written by Tom Warren of The Verge

(Source: The Verge)

Paris Attacks Fan Encryption Debate

Tony Avelar/Associated Press

White House and congressional staffers have asked Silicon Valley executives for new talks in Washington, D.C., to resolve a standoff over encrypted communication tools in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, people familiar with the matter said.

The approaches are among the most concrete signs of how last week’s bombings and shootings have put a new spotlight on the debate about whether American companies should be allowed to offer ultrasecure messaging tools.

There is no evidence the Paris attacks have changed technology companies’ view that strong encryption protects consumers, and that providing a way for police to eavesdrop would open the door to exploitation by criminals and repressive governments.

Late Thursday, the Information Technology Industry Council, whose members include Apple and Microsoft Corp., said in a statement, “Weakening security with the aim of advancing security simply does not make sense.”

But Apple Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and others face a difficult public-relations dance, because executives don’t want to be seen as brushing off the implications of a tragedy.

“It’s not the ideal time to be out there touting the benefits of encryption,” said an attorney who has worked on encryption issues.

There is no evidence Islamic State attackers in Paris relied on scrambled communications. Some used run-of-the-mill text messages, which can be easily monitored if a suspect is known, according to French media reports.

The Paris attacks came amid an 18-month feud between Washington and Silicon Valley that began when Apple and Google released new smartphone software that the companies said they cannot unlock, even if faced with a court order.

Top U.S. law-enforcement officials have said the software would cripple some criminal investigation. Talks aimed at ensuring law enforcement access to certain messaging systems and devices reached a stalemate in the fall. Unwilling to dictate product specifications to some of the nation’s most successful companies, the administration decided not to push for a change in law.

The Paris attacks may complicate efforts to reach a near-term compromise. “There is a solution out there and there’s a way to get to it but this isn’t the month to be starting down that path,” said James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert and former Clinton administration official who has consulted with tech companies and government.

He and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he is a senior fellow, had planned a forum on encryption policy this fall. After the Paris attacks, he postponed it.

Since Paris, Sens. John McCain, (R, Ariz.), Dianne Feinstein, (D, Calif.) and other lawmakers have said they want to ensure investigators can access the content of encrypted communications.

Mr. McCain has aid he wants to pursue legislation.

Apple has said it would never build a government backdoor into its products, because doing so would create security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by criminals. On its website, Apple says encryption protects trillions of online transactions daily and eliminating it would expose people to many risks.

“I don’t know a way to protect people without encrypting,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said last month at The Wall Street Journal’s technology conference, WSJD Live. “You can’t have a backdoor that’s only for the good guys.”

Rachel Whetstone, former head of communications and public policy at Google, said in February that governments don’t have and should not get backdoors to access Google user data because the company has a duty to keep users’ information private. A person familiar with the company’s thinking said Google’s views on encryption haven’t changed.

Even if Apple and Google could be convinced to cooperate, tech executives say there are dozens of other encrypted communication systems. Most encryption techniques are publicly known and terror organizations could build their own alternatives, they said. “The cat is already out of the bag,” added one executive.

One technology executive acknowledged mixed feelings. “While I continue to feel that outlawing end-to-end encryption would be both ineffective and a slippery slope for society, I’m also aware that I have limited knowledge of all the scary things happening in the world today,” said Ted Livingston, chief executive of Kik Interactive Inc., developer of the Kik Messenger messaging application.

The Waterloo, Ontario, company’s app doesn’t store the content of messages on the company’s servers. That means, the company says, it can only give authorities data on users, not transcripts of what they say to each other. It faced some negative publicity following reports in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere that Islamic State operatives see this feature as advantageous and use the app.

Written by Danny Yadron, Alistair Barr, Daisuke Wakabayashi of The Wall Street Journal

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Announced With New Surface Pen, Starts at $899

Microsoft

This year, Microsoft’s Surface Pro has been flattered by the introduction of similar devices like Apple’s iPad Pro and Google’s Pixel C, but today the original tablet-laptop hybrid gets its own update. The Surface Pro 4 is now official, and it’s thinner, lighter, and more powerful, while also having a larger display than its predecessor. Intel’s Skylake processors and Microsoft’s own Windows 10 are at the heart of the Surface Pro 4.

Panos Panay introduced the Surface Pro 4 by reminding us how transformative this line of devices has already been: “This challenge of the tablet and the laptop… which do you buy? Remember that problem? It’s gone.” There’s a fingerprint sensor on the keyboard and Cortana integration inside the new tablet, which fits a 12.3-inch display in the same physical footprint as the older 12-inch device. The Surface Pro 4 is therefore compatible with existing keyboard accessories, though Microsoft has done a ton to upgrade its keyboard covers this year. And yes, there’s an all-new Surface Pen as well, which also has an eraser on the end of it. The new pen has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity and attaches magnetically to the side of the Surface Pro 4 when not in use. It comes in a variety of colors and even has Cortana integration: you can activate Microsoft’s voice assistant by holding the button on the stylus.

Microsoft says this is the “thinnest, most powerful” Intel Core PC ever shipped and it’s “not even close.” To make that possible, the company has tweaked and optimized multiple aspects of the design that are invisible to the user, such as the 0.4mm-thick Gorilla Glass 4 covering the front. Microsoft has even developed a special G5 chipset to run the optical stack. The promise is that this is the best, most natural touchscreen out there. Notably, though, Microsoft isn’t comparing the Surface Pro 4 against other tablets, with Panay saying that they’re just not in the same class. Compared against Apple’s MacBook Air, however, the Surface Pro 4 is claimed to be 50 percent faster, while it also has high-end specs that wouldn’t be out of place on an ultrabook laptop. Storage goes all the way up to 1TB and you can get 16GB of memory to go with that Intel 6th-gen processor.

The Surface Pro 4 is available to preorder now, starting at $899. It will be available on October 26th.

Written by Vlad Savov of The Verge

(Source: The Verge)

American Retail as We Know it is Dying a Slow and Painful Death

© Provided by Business Insider
© Provided by Business Insider

Gap once ruled the retail world.

But today, America’s largest apparel retailer is closing a quarter of its stores and laying off hundreds of workers amid disappointing sales.

Gap’s closures are indicative of a larger trend in American retail.

Big apparel brands are grappling with shoppers who increasingly want deeply discounted clothes over classic logos and status.

As Americans shell out for items like iPhones and Netflix, they are increasingly unwilling to pay full price for sweaters and jeans.

J. Crew just fired 10% of the workers at corporate headquarters as sales and profits continue to plunge.

The teen-apparel market is also struggling as a whole, with big-name players like Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale closing stores.

Wet Seal, a shopping mall staple, abruptly shut down nearly all of its stores. Sears, Macy’s, and JCPenney have also shuttered hundreds of store locations in recent years.

The closures create a domino effect for malls.

Once mall anchors such as a department store close, it can be difficult for owners to find a tenant to replace them, said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, Inc., a national retail-consulting and investment-banking firm.

More than two dozen malls have shut down in the last four years and another 60 malls are on the brink of death, The New York Times reported, citing Green Street Advisors, a real-estate and real estate investments trust analytics firm.

“Teen retailers … are all a disaster and these middle-level malls are killing them,” Davidowitz said.

Certain businesses are Benefitting from current mall closure trends.

Discount retailers like T.J. Maxx and Ross are enjoying soaring sales.

Urgent care clinics like City Practice Group of New York and Concentra are growing at a rate of about 20% a year, reports Doni Bloomfield at Bloomberg Business.

Many are taking over spacious, empty leases in malls to satisfy growing demand from consumers, according to Bloomberg.

Technology-focused tenants like Tesla, Microsoft, and Apple are majorly driving sales, according to WSJ.

Because technology is more expensive than clothing, it’s easier for these stores to turn a profit.

Consumers are also increasingly spending on this category instead of traditional goods like home decor or clothing.

Technology stores also require fewer staff and smaller spaces than department stores, resulting in fewer overhead expenses.

Written by Ashley Lutz of Business Insider

(Source: Business Insider)

Stocks Close Up More than 1% Amid Greece Relief

© Katrina Tuliao, Flickr, Creative Commons
© Katrina Tuliao, Flickr, Creative Commons

U.S. stocks closed more than 1 percent higher in light volume trade Monday, following gains overseas on news of a bailout agreement between Greece and its creditors.

“I think it’s just a sigh of relief that it’s over, but let’s face it, they just kicked the can,” said Maris Ogg, president of Tower Bridge Advisors. “It seems like we kicked the can on a number of fronts. Earnings probably will be front and center int he next couple of weeks.”

About 11 stocks advanced for every 4 decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 571 million and a composite volume of 2.8 billion as of 3:59 p.m. Average volume for the entire day is 3.4 billion.

“You’ve got a relief going on, short covering going on,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. “What you want for confidence buying is to see a market close with buying orders on the close.”

The Dow Jones industrial average traded about 220 points higher, with Microsoft and DuPont leading most blue chips higher. The index recovered recent losses to trade about 0.80 percent higher for the year.

The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.5 percent as Apple and the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) rose more than 1.5 percent.

The S&P 500 held near 2,100, led by a rise in information technology stocks and consumer discretionary’s 1.3 percent gain to an all-time high.

The Dow transports also briefly advanced more than 1 percent, with airlines leading gains.

“I think the market’s technically very oversold,” said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at RW Baird. “The market’s poised to go up but to break this trading range (we’ve been in) since January you need to see volume pick up… number of stocks hitting 52-week highs expand.”

He said the S&P 500 breaking past 2,100 would be an encouraging sign.

European Council President Donald Tusk said early on Monday that euro zone leaders reached an unanimous agreement with Greece after all-night talks in Brussels to move forward with a bailout loan for the cash-strapped nation, provided Athens implement tough reforms.

“The jury’s still out on whether or not this is going to be accomplished,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

To receive this third bailout, Greece’s parliament must pass the new rules in areas such as privatization, labor laws and pension reforms by Wednesday. The 86 billion euro ($95.2 billion) in funds would come over three years.

In the meantime, euro zone finance ministers were expected to discuss Monday how to keep Greece financed before the bailout deal is reached. Athens faces a 7 billion euro repayment deadline on July 20 to the European Central Bank.

The ECB announced it maintains the emergency assistance cap for Greek banks, which will remain closed for at least two more days.

The Dow Jones industrial average futures were about 140 points higher before the open.

European stocks jumped on news of the conditional Greece deal, with the German DAX up about 1.5 percent and the STOXX Europe 600 up nearly 2 percent

In Asia, stocks surged with the Nikkei up 1.57 percent and the Shanghai Composite leaping 2.4 percent as it extended a recovery from a recent plunge.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, said the domestic response will likely be less exuberant since the major averages ended last week little changed. Only the Dow eked out a gain, of a mere 0.17 percent.

Stocks rose slightly past their opening levels, while bond yields held steady. The U.S. 10-year note yield was 2.44percent and the 2-year held near 0.67 percent. The German 10-year bund yield fell to 0.85 percent.

The U.S. dollar extended gains with the euro dipping below $1.10.

Also in focus is the Iranian nuclear deal, which would allow more oil exports. Talks on a deal were extended past a June 30 deadline and are expected to reach a conclusion Monday.

Crude oil futures settled down 54 cents, or 1.02 percent, at $52.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures fell $1.70 to $1,156.20 an ounce in afternoon trade.

No economic data or earnings of note were expected Monday.

Second-quarter earnings season gets underway with a slew of major reports on Tuesday that include JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. On the economic front, retail sales are due Tuesday morning.

“Each data point in and of itself may not be important, but collectively they’re important, especially since there’s a premium on the data,” Krosby said.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivers her semi-annual testimony on the economy to Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.

“If she focuses on (international news and the dollar) that will give the market a huge boost because she’s more concerned about it than she suggested in her speech Friday,” Krosby said.

In other news, the United States posted a budget surplus of $51.8 billion in June, down 27 percent from the same period last year, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 211, or 1.19 percent, at 17,972, with Microsoft and Caterpillar leading gains and Merck and UnitedHealth the only decliners.

The S&P 500 traded up 21 points, or 1.05 percent, at 2,098, with information technology leading nine sectors higher and utilities the only decliner.

The Nasdaq traded up 72 points, or 1.45 percent, at 5,070.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 14.

Written by Evelyn Cheng of CNBC

(Source: MSN)

NYSE Trading Halted; Stocks Down 1% as China, Greece Weigh

© Provided by CNBC
© Provided by CNBC

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange in late-morning trade on Wednesday with U.S. stocks extending their losses as continued concerns about Greece and the extended selloff in the Chinese market pressured investor sentiment.

“We’ve had some technical malfunctions. Some may be related to connectivity with other exchanges. I believe we’re going to have a temporary pause certainly in a variety of stocks perhaps floor wide,” Art Cashin, director of floor operations at the NYSE, told CNBC, adding that the halt will not cause a move in a particular direction.

Other exchanges, however, continued trading normally. The NYSE later said that all open orders amid the halt will be cancelled.

“What happens with these situations is often you get a sort of residual result. You’re all clear or you get caught up to date and there’s a little bit of a backlog that pops up somewhere, and it tends to jam things up. So I don’t think any of us has quite enough information yet,” Cashin added.

The Dow Jones industrial average traded about 175 points lower when trading was halted as the major averages declined, with the Nasdaq Composite briefly off more than 1 percent as biotechs and Apple (AAPL) plunged more than 1 percent. The iPhone maker was also the worst performing stock in the Dow.

The S&P 500 struggled to hold gains for the year. The index dipped into negative territory Tuesday but recovered in afternoon trade to hold slightly higher for 2015.

“I think we’re just realigning the U.S. market with the declines elsewhere,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group.

In China, the Shanghai Composite closed nearly 6 percent lower despite supportive government measures. The index has fallen more than 30 percent from its mid-June peak amid frequent bouts of extreme volatility. Analysts say the turbulence is starting to unnerve regional investors.

“There was no real trigger until Chinese stocks became too pricey,” said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout. “The trigger that sent this all off has been the Greece debt crisis.”

European stocks traded higher on Thursday amid hopes of a Greece deal. However, the indices are more than 2 percent lower for the week so far.

The Greek government has until Friday morning to present detailed reform proposals to allow a bailout deal by a Sunday summit.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addressed the European Parliament on Wednesday, lambasting Europe’s advocacy of austerity and the efficacy of Greece’s bailout programs since 2010, but promised a detailed, “concrete” deal would be presented in the next two to three days.

“Unfortunately the U.S. will remain headline-driven until earnings season which (starts) with Alcoa tonight,” Boockvar said. “Today will clearly be bullied around by headlines out of Greece.”

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes at 2 p.m. ET will also be in focus, with traders scanning the Federal Reserve’s June meeting report for hints on interest rate rise timing.

“I think the Fed minutes are something to watch closely,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. But “usually the market doesn’t do much around the minutes until they’re released.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) traded down 194 points, or 0.99 percent, at 17,583, with Intel leading decliners and Microsoft (MSFT) the only advancer.

The S&P 500 (.SPX) traded down 23 points, or 1.14 percent, at 2,057, with telecommunications leading all 10 sectors lower.

The Nasdaq (.IXIC) traded down 64 points, or 1.31 percent, at 4,931.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) (.VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 18.

About five stocks declined for every advancer on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 194 million and a composite volume of 1.22 billion as of 11:30 a.m.

Crude oil futures for August delivery lost 81 cents to $51.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures rose $7.50 to $1,160.20 an ounce in morning trade.

Bond yields held lower, with the 10-year yield at 2.23 percent and the 2-year at 0.57 percent. The Treasury auctions $21 billion in 10-year notes this afternoon.

The U.S. dollar fell about half a percent against major world currencies as the euro gained to above $1.10.

Earnings season unofficially begins with aluminium producer Alcoa (AA) reporting after the market close.

Written by Evelyn Cheng of CNBC

(Source: MSN)