HP Soars to Lead the Dow's Gains

Stocks are back on the upswing following yesterday's dip, and investors have to be happy with the gains the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is hauling in. The index has picked up 80 points, or 0.6%, to move past the 14,500 mark as of 2:15 p.m. EDT. More than two-thirds of member stocks are in the green, and Wall Street's doing a good job so far of ignoring the eurozone's ongoing problems to cap off the week with solid gains. Let's check out the biggest movers.

HP on the move again
Chronically unstable tech stock Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) ranks at the top of the Dow by a large lead today, with shares up 2.4%. Shareholders recently re-elected all of the company's board members, who authorized a 10% dividend increase going forward and plan to spend more than $100 million more for the higher payout each year. With the company still in danger from the declining PC market and facing an improving but still-struggling turnaround, investors have to question whether or not a higher dividend is the right use of the company's money.

Income investors sure won't mind, but considering this stock's penchant for significantly rising or falling even on days with no news, most investors would be better off looking for a less risky pick for their portfolio -- particularly considering that HP's shares have soared dangerously by more than 48% to start the year.

Wal-Mart's (NYSE: WMT  ) another stock on the up today, ranking among the top Dow leaders by pulling in gains of 1.4%. While there's little news out on the retailer today, the stock's following its sector higher following strong quarterly results from several fellow retailers such as Nike and Tiffany. Shareholders have to be happy, particularly after delayed tax returns took a bite out of sales in early February. The company expects flat sales this quarter as consumers struggle with rising gas prices and the payroll tax hike.

Big Oil stocks are also on the rise today. Shares of Exxon-Mobil (NYSE: XOM  ) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) have recorded respective gains of 1% and 0.6%. Russia's major oil giant, Rosneft, has leaped past both companies, however, recently taking over the title of the largest publicly traded oil and gas company after acquiring TNK-BP this week. Still, Exxon and Chevron have benefited from rising demand for natural gas worldwide, particularly as prices climb. Considering that gasoline prices are also skyrocketing, these companies are in good positions to keep shareholders happy.

Is a turnaround on the way?
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 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.


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