Market Minute: EU Slaps Microsoft with $733 Million Fine in Browser Case

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EU slaps Microsoft with $733 million fine in browser caseProduced by Drew Trachtenberg

The Dow didn't just top the five-and-a-half year-old record, it blasted past it, rallying 126 points yesterday. The S&P 500 rose 14 points and the Nasdaq gained 42.

Next up, record-wise, is the S&P, now within about 1.5 percent of its all-time high. The Nasdaq still has a long way to go: it's 36 percent below its 13 year-old record.

European regulators have fined Microsoft (MSFT) $733 million for failing to give users of its Windows system a choice of Internet browsers. The company had settled an antitrust dispute four years ago by saying it would offer alternatives to its Internet Explorer - but failed to do so for more than a year.

The Associated Press reports that the penalty "is a first for Bussels - no company has ever failed to keep its end of a bargain with EU authorities before." In all, Microsoft has now paid €2.2 billion ($2.87 billion) to the European Union Commission since the investigation into Windows-realted anticompetitive practices began in 1999. According to top regulator Joaquin Almunia, the size of the most recent fine reflected the extent of Microsoft's violations of the terms of its earlier agreement, although it was reduced because of the company's cooperation with the investigation.

Smith & Wesson (SWHC) says earnings shot higher, tripling from a year ago. The gunmaker also raised its forecast for this year, but investors may have been expecting even more following reports of a surge in gun sales as talk of new gun controls heat up. Smith & Wesson shares have climbed 21 percent already this year.

Walt Disney's (DIS) executives will face some opposition at today's annual meeting. Several institutional shareholders want to divide up the CEO and chairman positions - both of which are currently held by Bob Iger. There's also a challenge to how much Iger gets paid. Last year he made $40 million dollars.

Shares of diet company Nutrisystem (NTRI) could lose some weight today. The company posted a quarterly loss and issued a disappointing forecast for this year. Three biotech companies received an 'overweight' rating from Piper Jaffray – Vivus (VVUS), Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (PPHM) and Vanda Pharmaceuticals (VNDA).

And the Frito-Lay division of Pepsico (PEP) has lost a court battle of tortilla. It had sued Ralcorp, claiming its chips were too similar to Frito's bowl-shaped chips. Ralcorp, which makes a lot of store brand foods, is a unit of Conagra.

Photo Credit: Richard Drew, AP

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