Did the Dow Catch a Virus From the Tech Sector?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) closed higher yesterday following the Fed's announcement that it would continue with its quantitative easing program until there are more improvements in the labor market. With fresh assurances that there would be no increases in interest rates or other changes on the way, investors pushed the Dow to a new intraday high, and ultimately to a 55-point gain.

Today we're seeing a much different picture -- 25 of the Dow's 30 component stocks are in the red, with the technology sector sporting the biggest losses. Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) is the leader of the pack so far in trading, down 3.53% just before 11 a.m. The networking giant was recently downgraded by Wall Street analysts, who cited weaker demand for its products. This coincides with the bad news from Oracle (NYSE: ORCL  ) last night that it is seeing a weaker environment, creating lesser demand across all of its tech segments, which sent its stock into a nosedive. Oracle has been down by as much as 10% today, and is currently down 9%. It wouldn't be a stretch to assume that Cisco is feeling some negative effects from Oracle's announcements.

IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) is also down this morning, trading at a 2.22% loss so far. Despite winning a new contract with the state of Ohio for a tech upgrade and its recent success with its Boston "smart city" collaboration, Big Blue has a cloud hanging over its head. Polish authorities are investigating a bribing scheme that involved a high-ranking member of the Polish government who determined the winners of lucrative government contracts. IBM has made it clear that the investigation only includes the work of a former employee. Also implicated in the investigation are Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) and Oracle.

HP is down 1.07% this morning. On top of the Polish investigation, shareholders demonstrated their frustration with the company's botched Autonomy deal through their votes on the re-election of HP's board of directors. Though all candidates up for re-election won, there were some very close calls, including for chairman Ray Lane's seat. Perhaps in a move to assuage shareholders, the board approved a 10% increase in the company's dividend. The new payout will raise the per-share dividend from $0.132 to $0.1452, increasing HP's costs of distribution by $106 million. Though the company reported a 16% decrease in profits for its first quarter last month and there is continued pressure from the changing personal computing environment, HP is looking to increase value to shareholders.

The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including Hewlett-Packard. However, HP's 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 blip 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.


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