The post-Greek-election rally came a day late! The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) is up 0.95% as of 12:10 p.m. EDT on the back of large gains in the banking and technology sectors. The tech-heavy Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC ) is up 1.2% itself, outpacing both the Dow and S&P 500. Let's take a look at three companies soaring today.
Microsoft's tablet, unveiled!
The top gainer in the S&P 500 so far today is none other than semiconductor company NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) , which has notched a 7.1% gain. At a press conference last night, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) unveiled its new Surface tablet, a steep departure from the company's traditional stance of relying on laptop makers like Dell and HP to create the hardware for Windows computers. NVIDIA will supply its Tegra processor for the consumer edition of the tablet, which will likely be more popular thanks to its lower price point (though, no official prices have been released) and better portability thanks to its lower weight. Microsoft is up 3.8% itself, the second-largest gain in the Dow.
Microsoft's Surface tablet.
That's a gambit not without its risks; stepping on your partners' toes can have unintended consequences. However, it also could drive Microsoft's partners to innovate more themselves. It's pretty incredible that with its first attempt, Microsoft's tablet already looks more impressive than any Windows tablet designs dreamed up by its army of PC manufacturers. If Microsoft's design proves popular and it's closely followed by other PC companies, that's still a win for the company, as it spurs more adoption of Windows computers in general.
As far as NVIDIA, this isn't the company's first rodeo with a Microsoft-designed device. Back in 2010 NVIDIA's first Tegra processor powered a phone from Microsoft named Kin, which turned into a major flop. The phone had limited features and came out well after the introduction of both Android and the iPhone. As Engadget put it at the time, "the idea of choosing this severely limited device which doesn't do a single thing better than even the most basic Android device is kind of crazy."
The difference between Kin and Surface is that Kin used a limited operating system detached from Microsoft's main Windows Phone line and was doomed to fail from the start, while Surface is a central force from Microsoft aimed at making Windows a player in tablets.
The move is also important for NVIDIA because Microsoft so far has been closely allied with Qualcomm as a chip partner in mobile devices. Thus far, Windows Phone has only been available on Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors. With Apple developing its own processor and Google's Android a flop so far on tablets, NVIDIA getting in on a flagship Windows tablet is a pretty nice opportunity for the company.
A government backstop for banks?
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) is up 4.7% on reports the government is going to take steps to limit mortgage exposure. Likewise, JPMorgan Chase, the other big bank in the Dow, is seeing a 1.9% jump today. What exactly does the government's backing of mortgages look like? The FHA, which regulates both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reportedly is going to help lessen demands of banks repurchasing "flawed" loans. The thinking is, the uncertainty surrounding these banks' exposure to more mortgage repurchases is what's causing strict lending standards for new loans. Not only that, but it gives banks more liability even if loans are guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie.
Few details are available yet, but it's hard to see how this wouldn't be a positive for the banks themselves.
Take the long-term view
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