After a terrible last week, markets have started on a mildly positive note today. Again, it isn't domestic news, but rather a potential bailout in Greece that has investors feeling slightly better about stocks. Finance ministers are meeting in Europe today to discuss a Greek bailout that, if not resolved, could have dire consequences. The cost of the bailout has gone up $41 billion, but it's believed that it will be finalized relatively soon. Less uncertainty is always welcome to markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) has risen 0.05%, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) is up a fraction of a point near the end of trading.
Tech stocks have been mixed in trading today. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) fell 1.9% after CEO Steve Ballmer said that its new Surface tablet has had a "modest" start. He referred to a fairly limited selling footprint, and many would say that the current Surface isn't nearly as appealing as upcoming versions that are powered by Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) , but the comments certainly weren't bullish.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) is also having a rough day, falling 1.6% after an organization for its European employees said it was suing the company. The complaint stems from HP's plans to cut 29,000 workers worldwide and 8,000 in Europe. The group contends that communication and planning have not been sufficient at the tech giant.
Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) is up 0.9% a day before the company reports fiscal first-quarter earnings. Analysts think revenue will rise 5% to $11.79, while earnings per share will be flat at $0.47. With shares trading at 8.2 times next year's estimates and the stock paying a 3.3% dividend, there could be a nice pop if earnings beat expectations.
Oil fell 0.6% today to about $85.50 per barrel on continued worry about Europe and the fiscal cliff. I wouldn't expect the commodity to rally until a lot of these issues are solved, but there's clearly upside when they are.
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