May is here, and along with it comes a chorus of seasonal investors telling you to sell everything. But investors don't seem to be listening, as the stock market is off to the races this morning. After a slow start, news from the Institute for Supply Management that the U.S. manufacturing sector had built up steam in April helped to offset any concerns about tepid gains in construction spending and particular weakness in government-led projects. Just before 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were up more than 90 points.
Among Dow stocks, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) was down about 0.4%. The company said that it had completed its acquisition of ClearAccess, which will allow Cisco to deliver a combined software and network-management product to help residential- and mobile-device service providers work more efficiently for their customers. Cisco's acquisitions tend to be incremental, but they aim at longer-term integration of services to provide one-stop shopping for clients.
ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) was up almost 1% after announcing plans to reopen the South Line portion of a Louisiana pipeline this week. The company shut down the North Line segment after a crude-oil leak last weekend, and while the South Line portion got a favorable assessment from company inspectors, the North Line remains closed with no change in status. The incident highlights the risks that midstream operations entail not just for Exxon but also for more focused pipeline operators.
Finally, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) rose about 0.6% after seeing little reaction from yesterday's announcement of its investment in Barnes & Noble's (NYSE: BKS ) e-book and textbook business. The agreement could make or break Barnes & Noble, but in the long run, the B&N deal isn't as important to Microsoft as its Windows 8 release, which could mark a big step forward in the software giant's attempt to become more relevant in the mobile world.
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