3 Stocks Defying the Dow's Drop

Despite the lack of critical economic news today, stock markets are falling to start the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is down 0.15% as of 3:15 p.m. EST, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) has fallen barely more than a point. But there are a few stocks moving significantly higher, even as markets fall.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) has led financials upward today by climbing 10.9%. There wasn't anything specific driving Bank of America today, but investors are placing their bets now for what's to come. Barclays reports earnings tomorrow and is expected to cut $3 billion in costs, as well as 2,000 employees. This would create more opportunity for Bank of America going forward. We're also in the midst of a two-day meeting of eurozone finance ministers and a G-20 finance minister meeting later this week. For now, investors are baking bullish bets ahead of both.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is up 0.9% after a smashing debut of the Surface Pro, which sold out in short order. The upgraded tablet went on sale on Saturday, and it was a huge success for Microsoft, albeit a crushing disappointment for those who wanted one but missed out. The warm reception is a bit shocking, considering the apathy consumers and investors showed the original Surface tablet. Maybe Microsoft was caught off guard by higher demand -- something it isn't used to in the device business but which investors could get used to.

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) is up 1% today after dropping 2.7% last week, when the company announced a plan to cut $1 billion from its budget by getting out of a clinical-research facility in Singapore. That caused a sell-off last week that may have been overdone. The money isn't being invested in future products, but it can be used to pay investors in the near term. It does underscore the challenge for drugmakers going forward. Returns are getting smaller on billion-dollar drug bets, so there's less incentive to make them at all.

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