With the summer solstice approaching, Wall Street wants a present, and it's pretty sure it's going to get one. Given all the troubles in Europe and their impact on the U.S. economy, investors seem to increasingly expect the Federal Reserve to take further steps toward stimulating economic growth when it meets later this week. Analysts at Goldman Sachs believe that the Fed will buy more bonds to keep rates down and possibly extend its "Operation Twist" and its focus on reducing long-term rates. However backward it may seem for stocks to rally because of economic weakness, investors are buying into the concept, and the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) rose 100 points by 10:45 a.m. EDT.
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) soared almost 4% after announcing that it is offering a tablet to go up against Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPad. The Surface has a larger screen than the iPad and comes with a screen cover that doubles as a keyboard. Details on when the Surface will be available and how much it will cost were sketchy, but the decision to make its own tablet rather than looking to find a partner is interesting in light of Microsoft's hugely important relationships with other hardware manufacturers.
This morning, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) CEO Jamie Dimon goes back to Washington for a repeat performance in front of Congress, this time for the House Financial Services Committee. JPMorgan shares are up more than 2%, but it's hard to see how investors can expect anything very different from Dimon's Senate testimony last week, although some expect a more hostile set of questions from representatives.
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) , however, missed out on the Dow's gains, falling about 0.6%. As Fool analyst Austin Smith noted, the stock fell yesterday as well, despite what should arguably have been good news after the Greek elections. But McDonald's remains strongly tied to Europe overall, and until Spain, Italy, and other larger economies get their act together, the fast-food giant could see continuing pressure.
On strong days, it seems like picking stocks is easy. But over the long haul, you really need to make sure you've got the best companies on your team. Get some good prospects in the Fool's brand-new special report, where you'll discover the names of the three Dow stocks dividend investors need. It's absolutely free, so just click here and get your copy today.