February 23, 2012
Good news on the employment front gave stocks a slight boost, as claims for unemployment benefits remained at their lowest levels in years. But after a huge bull run to start 2012, the stock market isn't responding as positively to such news as it has recently. At around 10:45 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were up just 15 points to 12,954.
Within the Dow, tech stocks went in dramatically different directions. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) opened down nearly 6% after reporting a 44% drop in earnings. Despite beating estimates, HP cut its profit forecast for the coming quarter, again calling into question the turnaround plan that new CEO Meg Whitman is trying to put into place. Meanwhile, IBM (NYSE: IBM ) seemed to benefit from HP's weakness, climbing almost 2%. It's possible that investors don't want to wait for Whitman's long-term strategy to take hold and are instead moving money to IBM and its better-established strategic plan.
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) rose about 0.75% after reports that it signed a deal to provide content for China's You On Demand. The deal could give 200 million cable subscribers in China access to a wide variety of recent and legacy movie titles from the company.
Finally, AT&T (NYSE: T ) rose a bit after former takeover target T-Mobile said that it would invest $4 billion toward building a mobile-broadband network and launching 4G LTE services. The move shows how T-Mobile plans to spend the money that AT&T had to pay as a result of the merger falling through, and it also suggests that T-Mobile is aiming to become a larger competitor to AT&T in the years to come.
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