It's hard to believe that less than a month ago, the Dow Jones Industrials had dropped more than 650 points in just four trading sessions as investors panicked about the potential end of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program. Yet even though interest rates have actually kept rising from their levels late last month, the stock market hasn't hesitated to push back upward. Today, the Dow set another record, rising 20 points and leading the rest of the market modestly higher as well.
Boeing made the biggest news among the gainers today, rising 3.7% in light of revelations that the recent fire aboard a 787 Dreamliner last week wasn't connected to recent improvements the company made to its battery systems. Indeed, Reuters reported this afternoon that investigators were looking at a Honeywell-produced emergency locator transmitter as a possible source of the fire. For its part, Honeywell fell only slightly on the news, clearly reflecting the fact that the investigation process is only in its beginning stages currently.
But tech stocks were also among the winners in today's session. Microsoft continued its impressive rally, gaining 1.4% to hit another multi-year high. Although the tech giant announced a big price cut for its lower-end Surface RT tablet, the more important aspect to Microsoft's recent gains is its initiative to reorganize its corporate structure to emphasize overall functionality rather than specific products, encouraging crosspollination of ideas and reducing the amount of compartmentalization within Microsoft. If that restructuring is successful, then Microsoft shares have a lot further higher to run.
Finally, IBM picked up 1% in advance of its earnings report on Wednesday. After disappointing investors last quarter, expectations for IBM's earnings growth are fairly positive, although revenue is projected to decline from the year-ago quarter. With last week's downgrade of the stock coming on concerns about IBM's ability to boost sales in emerging markets, anything short of terrible news could send shares higher going forward.
Between IBM, Microsoft, and their rivals, it's incredible to think just how much of our digital and technological lives are almost entirely shaped and molded by just a handful of companies. Find out who'll win the war between the five biggest tech stocks in The Motley Fool's latest free report, which details the knock-down, drag-out battle being waged among the five kings of tech. Click here to keep reading.
This article was originally published as These Dow Stocks Helped Markets Set Yet Another Recordon Fool.com
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