These 3 Stocks Are Surging Past the Dow

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up 0.62% to 14,704 points as of 1:25 p.m. EDT, led by the technology sector. The S&P 500 is up 0.53% to 1,571.

Today's Dow leaders
Today's Dow leader is Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) , up 4%. This morning the FairSearch coalition, a group of 17 companies led by Microsoft, announced that it had filed a complaint with the European Commission alleging anticompetitive strategies by Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android. According to the group's statement, "Google's predatory distribution of Android at below cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google's dominant mobile platform." The group alleges that while Google gives its operating system away for "free," in reality companies who want to use it must preload Google apps onto the phones, thus giving Google an unfair advantage that has helped Google acquire 70% of the smartphone market and 96% of the mobile search advertising market.

Google is already in hot water with EU regulators over its desktop search practices, which Microsoft and the FairSearch coalition complained of to the European Commission in 2010. Microsoft needs all the help it can get in the mobile-operating-system market. As of February, Microsoft is fourth in the U.S. among smartphone operating systems with a 3.2% market share.

Second for the Dow today is Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) , up 3.4%. Yesterday, at the National Association of Broadcasters conference, Intel unveiled its next-generation Thunderbolt interface technology, codenamed Falcon Ridge. The new Thunderbolt runs at 20 Gbs, twice the speed of its predecessor. Initial production is expected before the end of the year and will ramp up in 2014.

In other Intel news, yesterday the company announced that it is shipping samples of its new "Avoton" system-on-a-chip. It also announced that the chips will be included in Hewlett-Packard's new Project Moonshot servers, which will be available later this year. This is welcome news for Intel investors, as it shows the company has a headstart on ARM in shipping 64-bit server chips. ARM is not expected to start shipping until 2014 or 2015. For more on Intel, Fool analyst Anders Bylund recently laid out the case for owning Intel stock.

Third for the Dow today is Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) , up 1.9%. Caterpillar's stock has struggled this year as falling commodity prices, and thus declining activity in the worldwide mining sector, have weighed on the stock. The stock has fallen 4.5% year to date compared to the Dow's 12% rise. We have to wait until Caterpillar reports earnings on April 22 to see whether the stock's decline is merited. Early signs are mixed: After yesterday's market close, Alcoa reported better-than-expected earnings but disappointing revenue. Caterpillar has been taking steps to make itself more profitable, including slowing production and cutting jobs.

While Caterpillar's results remain to be seen, over the long term it's important to consider what really matters for the stock. Caterpillar is the market share leader in an industry in which size matters, and its quality products, extensive service network, and unparalleled brand strength combine to give it solid competitive advantages. Read all about Caterpillar's strengths and weaknesses in The Motley Fool's brand-new report. Just click here to access it now.


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