These 2 Unlikely Stocks Sent the Dow Higher

Given the market's dour mood early on, that the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) managed to eke out any gain at all is surprising. With concerns about earnings reports and a downbeat report from the housing sector, the Dow quickly lost 90 points. But as the day went on, it once again demonstrated its ability to bounce back from adversity.

What's even more surprising are the stocks that got it there. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) has been a highly unpopular stock for years, as the software giant has largely missed out on the massive run that more progressive technology companies have seen in their stocks over the past decade. But after a modest run-up to begin 2013, Microsoft's stock soared 3.6% today on news that activist investor ValueAct Capital had reported a $2 billion stake in the company. At this point, the move seems overblown, given that the position amounts to less than 1% of Microsoft's outstanding stock. But as a signal that investors may finally demand value-enhancing changes from the company, Microsoft should take the situation seriously.

The other surprise gainer was Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) , which some blamed for the Dow's initial drop after announcing disappointing earnings and guidance. Yet, by the end of the day, investors seemed to focus on the company's more upbeat statement of confidence and optimism about what it called the "relative stability" in the economies of the U.S. and China so far this year. That's hardly a glowing recommendation, given Caterpillar's guidance cut for 2013 earnings, but with the stock already having gotten beaten down, relieved investors bid shares up 2.8%.

Finally, outside the Dow, Power-One (UNKNOWN: PWER.DL.DL  ) soared 57% after ABB (NYSE: ABB  ) made a $1 billion bid for the solar industry player. The ABB bid values Power-One at $6.35 per share, and the stock climbed to within just a couple of cents of that figure as investors take the acceptance of the deal as a foregone conclusion. Consolidation within the solar industry has been inevitable, and with Power-One's position in the solar inverter market, ABB hopes to bolster its sales by making Power-One's equipment available to the more than 100 countries in which ABB operates.

Do Caterpillar's gains today make sense given its long-term challenges, or is Caterpillar poised for further declines? Find out in the Motley Fool's premium research report, which highlights Caterpillar's solid competitive advantages. Just click here to access it now.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2378298, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/23/2014 1:14:40 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement