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As my Fool colleague John Maxfiled noted earlier today, it is now legal to smoke cannabis in the state of Washington. Perhaps investors haven't got the memo that it's just legal in the state of Washington. With no resolution to the fiscal cliff and just 20 days left until the U.S. economy otherwise falls back into a recession, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) has not only managed to move higher for the fifth consecutive day, but it also posted a 78-point gain today.
The Index currently sits at 13,248, as it moved higher by 0.6% today. And of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow, only four of them were in the red when the bell rang. Of the 26 stocks that moved higher, three of the best performers today were Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) , Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) , and 3M (NYSE: MMM ) .
So why were they higher?
Microsoft was one of the biggest winners today, up more than 1.41%. Earlier today, Microsoft announced that it will soon sell the Surface tablet at retail locations other than just its own stores and at Micrsoft.com. While Microsoft didn't give specific names, Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS ) made it known that it will offer the Surface as soon as tomorrow.
A number of analysts, myself included, have raised concerns about poor sales numbers because of the limited access consumers have had to the Surface. Even as overall Internet sales numbers skyrocket, at the end of the day, most consumers still want to physically see and touch a product before spending upwards of $600 on it. This is a good move by Microsoft, but I still question why it took so long.
Intel was the Dow's big winner today, after the company announced a new system for making chips for mobile devices. The company has been one of the worst Dow stocks this year because it had missed the mobile revolution and no longer made the chip of choice for technology companies. Shares of Intel closed the day up 2.84%.
3M shareholders also enjoyed gains, with the stock price ending the day higher by 1.97%. Yesterday, the company announced it will hold a conference call tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. ET., during which it will present its 2013 outlook during the call. From the positive share-price move today, it looks as if investors are seeking some good news.
With more than 50,000 products, 3M plays a role in making everything from computers to power cables. A long history of invention and innovation has driven the company to its wide reach, but a focus on operational efficiency may be hurting the creative culture that once created Scotch tape and the Post-It Note. A new leader has taken over and vows to return innovation to the forefront. Does this mean the stock will become more than a dividend, returning to its former glory as a growth stock once again? Find out whether 3M has what it takes to pull it off in The Motley Fool's comprehensive new research report on the company. As a bonus, you'll receive a full year of key updates and guidance as news develops, so don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.