Last call, folks, last call to place your bets prior to Greek elections on Sunday, arguably the most anticipated weekend event of the year for investors. With weekend events in firm view, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) rose sharply yesterday, up 155 points for a 1.25% gain despite largely negative economic data, particularly a rise in weekly jobless claims versus expectations for a fall. This labor news, combined with tepid inflation readings, fueled hopes that Federal Reserve officials would initiate a new round of economic stimulus. This morning, a positive day in Europe is feeding U.S. futures markets, with futures on the Dow Jones Industrials up 0.4% in the past hour.
Where's my invite?
Moving to company specific news, yesterday afternoon news surfaced that Dow component Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT ) is planning a major announcement Monday afternoon. The invitations, sent through email to various members of the media, described the event as a "major Microsoft announcement" Given the event's Los Angeles location, some have speculated the news will involve new content deals. Others are suggesting the event will be used to highlight products using its newest Windows operating system. Whatever the announcement is, it's following a tough act by this week's Apple developer's conference, so the news better be impressive!
The announcement from Microsoft will come only days after device partner Nokia's (NYSE: NOK ) decision to cut an additional 10,000 jobs in response to quickly deteriorating performance in its mobile device unit. Microsoft has hitched its success in mobile to Nokia in a big way as the maker of the Windows Phone line of smartphones. Both hope the latest Windows operating system will help them pick up mobile market share. Nokia, for one, has seen market share collapse at both the high and low ends of the mobile spectrum, with its smartphone market share declining from more than 50% to single digits in about seven years.
Killing the K-Cup
It's another light day for high-profile corporate announcements, with the only notable event being a Safeway (NYSE: SWY ) conference call on financial strategy beginning at 11 a.m. EDT. Safeway, like grocer Kroger, which I wrote about in yesterday's preview, is embracing new private label versions of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' (Nasdaq: GMCR ) K-Cup coffee pods, which can sell for discounts of more than 20% relative to official K-Cups. In fact, Safeway's K-Cup knock-off supplier, Rogers Family Co., is already stocking its alternative on store shelves. Green Mountain, whose patents on the K-Cup expire Sept. 16, has cried foul and filed patent infringement claims against Rogers.
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