Dow Inches Upward Ahead of Fed Announcement

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) plodded upward in advance of today's Fed announcement. At 2:15 p.m. EDT this afternoon, the Federal Reserve will reveal the outcome of its two-day meeting, and whether more stimulus measures are on the way. Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at Davidson Companies, said expectations are low for further action, because more quantitative easing would be "premature or not warranted due to emerging signs of pickup in economic activity over the last month." Don't be surprised if Bernanke indicates the Federal Reserve is willing to act, but isn't ready just yet. Stocks rose cautiously, with the Dow gaining 0.33% and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) gaining 0.28% by 12:30 p.m.

DuPont (NYSE: DD  ) led the Dow today, climbing 1.6% on no company-specific news. As fellow Fools John Reeves and David Meier discuss, Dow has seen sales decline due to slowing global demand. Still, the chemical company's agricultural segment, primarily competing with Monsanto, has thrived. With global macroeconomic headwinds sure to lessen eventually, this Dow giant looks attractive to income investors with its 3.5% yield.

Momentum from yesterday's earnings beat carried pharmaceutical company Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) higher, jumping 1.2%. Yesterday morning, the company announced earnings of $0.62 per share, beating estimates of $0.54. The report demonstrated Pfizer's adaptability through successfully overcoming a major hit to revenue from losing patent protection on its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) shareholders continued to suffer after the company lost 2%. Over the past year, HP stock has had its value cut almost in half. Today, news of a partnership between EMC and Lenovo sent HP shares tumbling. This partnership will likely add to Hewlett-Packard's competition as the company struggles to find its footing.

In today's volatile markets, it often seems like Wall Street runs the show. And yet, individual investors still hold certain advantages over the investment institutions. Wall Street focuses on the big companies, and often misses out on smaller, more profitable opportunities. Luckily for you, The Motley Fool has identified a few of these opportunities in its latest special report: "Middle-Class Millionaire-Makers: 3 Stocks Wall Street's Too Rich to Notice." The report is yours free, so be sure to claim your copy today.

Foolish intern Charlie Kannel owns no shares of the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of EMC. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Pfizer and creating a modified stock repair against synthetic long position in Monsanto. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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