As of 12:45 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average has made small gains, up 0.19% to 14,424. The blue-chip index is currently on a six-day winning streak, but at this time, it's anyone's guess whether that run will continue. With no important U.S. economic data points released today, investors seem content to simply wait around until the markets receive another stimulant.
The broader markets are flat, with the S&P 500 up less than a tenth of a percent and the NASDAQ down less than two points.
Today's Dow downers
Both of the Dow's telecommunications stocks are moving lower today. AT&T is down 0.5%, and Verizon has lost 0.7%. The reason for the decline is unknown at this time; most investors would expect shares to rise after the promising announcement AT&T made this morning. The wireless-service provider revealed that presales for Blackberry's new Z10 smartphone will start tomorrow and that the phones will debt in the U.S. on March 22. Even as the wireless providers' shares struggle, Blackberry shares have risen by more than 10%.
After setting a new 52-week high last Friday, shares of Home Depot are pulling back slightly, now down 0.4% for the trading session. The home improvement store has been on a fantastic run in 2013: Shares are up 15.2% after ending 2012 up more than 47%. During both time periods, Home Depot has easily outperformed the Dow.
Home Depot also recently announced solid quarterly results, an increase to its dividend, and a massive $17 billion share buyback program. In the past, when the board of directors approved a $22 billion buyback program, investors raised concerns. They haven't yet expressed any disapproval of the new program.
Shares of General Electric are trading lower by 1% this afternoon. The only real news pertaining to the company is the announcement that former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro has been nominated as a board member for GE. Some investors may be bailing on the stock out of concern regarding Schapiro's lack of direct business management experience. Shareholders will need to approve Schapiro's appointment at the annual meeting on April 24.
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