The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is losing a little ground today, but the markets are still poised to have their best start to a new year in 24 years. The Dow is down 20 points as of 2:20 p.m. EST, but that's chump change compared to the 52-week highs the index seems to be hitting nonstop recently.
Still, stocks are somewhat mixed on the day. Let's go around the Dow and check out what investors need to know.
Mixed fortunes in the PC market
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) is racing ahead of all Dow stocks today, with shares picking up 1.3%. The computer and tech company is reportedly launching a Chromebook -- a computer running Google's Chrome operating system -- but it's questionable how much that will help the company. Given the decline of PC sales and HP's lack of mobile competitiveness, the company needs to find a new way to pull in future sales growth in order to lure investors.
Meanwhile, fellow PC-centric stocks Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) aren't having days to write home about. Shares of the two companies lead the Dow's laggards lower, 1.2% and 1.5%, respectively. Intel in particular has been hit hard by the PC's fall, with revenue down 3% and net income falling far more in the past quarter. The two companies need to find some way to turn around their fortunes: Over the past six months, Microsoft's shares are down more than 5%, while Intel's have fallen nearly 17%.
Finally, energy stocks are dropping again today, with Chevron and ExxonMobil down 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively. Both companies have yet to report fourth-quarter earnings -- they both report on Friday -- but a rival's fourth-quarter miss is giving investors pause today. ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP ) announced that its adjusted earnings per share fell from $1.55 to $1.43 this past quarter, hurt by lower gas and oil prices. If prices are behind the hit to profits, then Chevron and Exxon could fall victim to them as well.
Interested in HP?
The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including venerable technology names like Hewlett-Packard. However, HP is rapidly shifting its strategy under the new leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one of the least appreciated turnaround stories on the market, or is this a minor detour on its road to irrelevance? The Motley Fool's technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our new premium research report. Just click here now to get your copy today.