What's Moving the Dow Today

U.S. stocks took developments in the European crisis in stride today, as major market indexes were little changed. Just after 1 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) were up 17 points to 12,377, while the S&P 500 rose just one point to 1,279. Even the resignation of the Swiss National Bank's chairman in connection with a currency scandal wasn't enough to send the markets running for cover.

The biggest winner in the Dow was Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , which was up more than 2% to $9.37. The stock, which traditionally opens the quarterly earnings season, is set to release earnings after the market's close this afternoon. Analyst estimates peg the aluminum maker to lose $0.02 per share in the quarter that ended Dec. 31 on sales of $5.74 billion, reversing a year-ago profit of $0.21 per share.

On the losing side of the market was Microsoft, which fell more than 1% to $27.79. The pause comes after the stock gained more than 8% during the first trading week of 2012, as the company expects partner Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) to unveil a new Windows Phone at the International Consumer Electronics Show this week. Microsoft doesn't report its fiscal second-quarter earnings until next week, but the software giant is expected to match last year's profit of $0.77 per share.

Outside the Dow, Inhibitex (Nasdaq: INHX  ) soared on reports that Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) would buy out the hepatitis C drug developer for $2.5 billion, or $26 per share. Inhibitex jumped nearly $14 to $23.80 in early-afternoon trading, as the buyout offer put a premium of about 160% over Friday's close.

As exciting as buyouts are, we think we've found an even better stock idea. Check out The Motley Fool's latest special report to discover our top stock pick for 2012. It's free, but it won't be available for long, so get your copy now.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a bull call spread position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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