June 18, 2012
As far as watershed moments go, today's market response to good news in Greece's elections this weekend was outright tepid. Instead of producing the rally many, including this author, expected, markets remained largely subdued during the trading day today. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) shed 25 points, a loss of only 0.2%, while other U.S. indexes posted moderate gains. On the day, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq climbed 0.1% and 0.8% higher, respectively. The market's so-called "fear gauge," the VIX (INDEX: ^DJI ) , declined 13.2% as investors at least breathed a sigh of relief about the passing of the market's most immediate short-term threat, giving Europe one less worry but still leaving it drowning in a sea of problems (like Spain's surging interest rates).
The path forward
Among Dow components, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) declined 2.7%, extending an ugly 12 months for the world's largest personal-computer manufacturer. The stock's lost almost 37% over the past year. Keeping with tech, shares of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) fell 0.6% during the trading day but trended higher in extended hours as the company will announce its branded tablet. This marks a stark shift in strategy for the Windows powerhouse as its frustration has mounted in the past months with its hardware partners, most notably Finnish handset maker Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) . The two partnered on Nokia's Lumia line of smartphones that have struggled to gain traction in the critical "smart device" market that's fallen under the sway of market leaders Apple and Google.
What it all means
Even with the largely positive news coming out of Greece today, the market remains fraught with risk. At times like this, investors would do well to follow the "smart money" like Warren Buffett and look at one especially beaten-down sector. The Fool's analysts spell out exactly why this sector looks especially attractive and our unknown winner in the Fool's new research report, which you can access for free by clicking here.