Cautious Investors Keep the Dow Quiet

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is in sleep mode today. There's little movement across the index; investors seem generally content to play it safe rather than make a move as earnings season comes upon us. As of 2:15 p.m. EST, the index has lost just seven points -- less than 0.1%. While a familiar face in the tech sector is having a tough day, most stocks are fairly evenly split between gainers and losers.

HP leads in volatility
Unsurprisingly, it's Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) again that's hogging the spotlight on the Dow. What more is left to say about this stock, which is down 2.5% after its hot start to the year? While turnaround investors have been snatching up shares recently, hoping to pick up the tech giant at its lowest, HP's problems aren't going away. This company's still a risky bet for any investor, and the huge swings we've been accustomed to on a daily basis attest to that.

Telecom stocks aren't having a great day, either, with both Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and AT&T losing about 1% apiece. UBS hit Verizon with a downgrade from "buy" to "neutral," citing a lower wireless-profit forecast, and cut the stock's price target. With third-place telecom Sprint still far behind these two, however, Verizon and AT&T are still relatively safe bets. Each stock has gained more than 9% over the past 52 weeks.

On a more upbeat note, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is having a good showing today. Shares of the software giant are up 0.7%, boosted by Facebook's (NASDAQ: FB  ) announcement of its new Graph Search feature. Facebook's latest innovation will integrate Microsoft's Bing search function, promising new revenue opportunities for both companies.

Google might still be smashing Bing -- and Microsoft's recent rollouts of products like Windows 8 and the Surface tablet have been less than extraordinary -- but it's nice to see the company still fighting to stay relevant despite the recent hits. The PC decline is hitting Microsoft hard, and the company will need to diversify into other areas if it wants to keep its place on the tech leaderboard.

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, the company is now 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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