Editor's note: Today we debut "Look Out Below," a regular feature that examines stocks that have falling share prices or falling fortunes.

Updated from 9:31 a.m. EST

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

says netbooks and a slumping global economy put the brakes on sales in the fiscal second quarter, forcing a plan to cut 5,000 workers.

The Redmond, Wash. software giant posted earnings, excluding one time items, of 47 cents a share, down from 50 cents in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected an adjusted profit of 49 cents, according to First Call.

Sales for the quarter ended last month were $16.6 billion, up slightly from the $16.3 billion level last year but below the $17.08 billion mark analysts had expected.

The news comes amid a host of disappointing earnings reports from tech shops like

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

and

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

.

"Economic activity and IT spend slowed beyond our expectations in the quarter, and we acted quickly to reduce our cost structure and mitigate its impact," said Chris Liddell, chief financial officer at Microsoft.

Microsoft says that given the limited visibility on its business, it will not provide any further forecasts for its fiscal year financials.

"We are planning for economic uncertainty to continue through the remainder of the fiscal year, almost certainly leading to lower revenue and earnings for the second half relative to the previous year.

The surprising shortfall chopped 8.1% off the stock, which was trading at $17.82.