Home Depot and Microsoft Pull Dow in Opposite Directions

The "fiscal cliff" is still garnering headlines nationwide, but markets have looked past that for now and are flat for a second straight day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is down a mere 11 points, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) has lost a fraction of a point near the end of trading.

Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) was the big earnings news of the day, announcing a 4.3% increase in same-store sales. The stock has jumped 3.8% and could still have some room to run in a Sandy-fueled fourth quarter. Santa may be stuffing stockings with two-by-fours and Skilsaws in the Northeastern U.S. this holiday season, rather than electronics and candy, which would be a boost for Home Depot.

Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) was another big winner, jumping about 1.2% in a steady climb today. The company is coming off a tough earnings report, but the stock was beaten down more than it should have been last week, and investors are now jumping on this stock.

On the downside, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) is being beaten up after the architect of Windows 8 decided to leave the company. Steven Sinofsky left without reason at a crucial time for the software maker, and this just adds questions about the company's strategy going forward. Sinofsky was rumored to be a CEO candidate and was a key contributor to the executive team. In a company the size of Microsoft, I don't think this is a terrible thing in the long term, but in the short term it will not be looked on positively by investors.

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who have watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft, our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so be sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.


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