Investors wanted a sign, and the Federal Reserve delivered. With the Fed's announcement of new quantitative easing, the stock market soared, despite the move having been telegraphed well in advance. With low interest rates locked in at least through mid-2015, investors have apparently decided that stocks represent the only reasonable place to put their money. By the day's end, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) soared more than 200 points, and all 30 Dow stocks were up on the day.
But some of those Dow components didn't take full advantage of the Fed's largesse. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) gained just half a percent, perhaps simply because of the contrast between it and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) . With the release of the iPhone 5 yesterday, Apple is once again at the top of its game. Meanwhile, Microsoft's dependence on the ailing PC market, as well as its stuttering attempts to gain traction of its own in the smartphone space, make the software giant look weak by comparison.
General Electric (NYSE: GE ) also picked up just over half a percent, after news that the company is investigating another failure of one of its newly produced jet engines. The problem happened right before takeoff in a plane flying out of Shanghai, and follows a similar problem in South Carolina a couple of months ago. Clearly, GE needs to get out in front of this problem, especially given how important the commercial aircraft industry will be to its aerospace division for years to come.
Finally, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) rose three-quarters of a percent after announcing that its joint venture with Chinese pharma company Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical would look to hire 600 employees in the world's most populous country by year's end. With plans to offer heart, cancer, mental health, and infectious disease treatments, the venture could help Pfizer build its exposure to China quicker than it could do on its own.
Are you stimulated?
When the Dow soars, even rising stocks can be disappointing if they don't fly as high. Still, the long run brings different results for patient investors. You still have to do your homework, though. For instance, General Electric may have an engine problem today, but it has been through tough times before. Is GE still a smart long-term investment? Find out by reading our premium report on GE today.