September 12, 2012
In a week where investors are anxiously waiting for several pieces of market-moving news, you can mark today's announcement from the German Constitutional Court in the win column. The court's ruling validated the European Stability Mechanism, and despite some limits being placed on its power, the fact that it will be able to move forward was enough to reassure investors that Europe's recovery plan is still on track. Stock markets in Germany and France traded higher, but an initial rise in U.S. markets gave way to concerns about what the Fed will do later this week. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were up just nine points as of 10:45 a.m. EDT.
Cross-currents among the individual Dow components continued to swirl, with several stocks making decent-sized moves despite the market's relative calm. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) dropped almost 1% as investors continue to assess the impact of the massive move away from PCs toward mobile devices. Fool tech analyst Andrew Tonner now questions whether even the coming Windows 8 release from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) will be enough to reinvigorate the PC market. Microsoft certainly is trying to move away from relying entirely on PC-based software, and Intel really needs to move forward more strongly with its mobile products if it wants to recapture its leadership role.
Travelers (NYSE: TRV ) had better news for investors, though, with shares rising almost 1%. The company said the rates it charged for insurance have continued to rise during the third quarter, boosting its bottom-line profitability. Rates often rise after bad loss years like 2011, so opportunistic investors often buy shares after bad news in the hopes of higher profits later -- which is exactly what appears to be happening.
Finally, Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) posted a more-than-1% decline despite getting news that a third potential buyer is reportedly interested in buying its smelter on the Italian island of Sardinia. More broadly, though, the slight drop makes sense. given Alcoa's big upward move recently, which took the stock up more than 10% in a single week.