Why the Dow's on the Rise This Morning

In a week that could prove momentous for the stock market, initially uncertain investors have thrown caution to the wind and placed their bets on good news. Even ominous comments from ratings agency Moody's about the potential impact of the fiscal cliff on its debt rating for U.S. Treasuries weren't enough to dampen spirits. With key news events expected soon, including the Fed's decision on whether to implement a third round of quantitative easing and a German court decision on the validity of the European Stability Mechanism, stocks have been incredibly resilient as investors wait to see which way policymakers will take the economy. At around 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) were up about 70 points.

The biggest gainer in the Dow was Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , jumping about 3%. Alcoa has a lot on the line as attempts are made around the world to boost the global economy. Although the aluminum giant gets half of its sales from the U.S., it also generates revenue from a number of European countries. Anything that will help the eurozone move forward could potentially bring a big boost to Alcoa.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) also posted strong gains of about 2%. Despite a boost in job cuts, HP hired a former Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) executive to help turn around its information management division, according to a Wall Street Journal report last night. Increasingly, investors are realizing that the key to HP's long-term success lies not in its legacy hardware businesses but in new, high-margin areas where it can produce greater profits and keep up with its competitors.

Finally, AT&T (NYSE: T  ) gained about 0.75%. With the new iPhone release just a day away, everyone's looking for blockbuster sales of the smartphone. But AT&T and its telecom peers still have to figure out how to make those sales profitable, given the subsidies they offer in order to lure customers into lucrative two-year contracts. With adjustments to smartphone plans, AT&T may eke out more profit, but it will take a bigger transformation to rid the industry of its subsidy addiction.

Rise on up
Bullish markets are nice for investors, but a single day doesn't establish a trend. For instance, Microsoft has had to deal with a consistent brain drain for years as its executives and other leaders find employment elsewhere. Find out whether Big Softy can hold its own in the Fool's new premium research report on Microsoft. You'll get up-to-date analysis from our top tech analyst team, along with a year of free updates covering all the latest on the company. Click here now to get started.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft and creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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