A poor durable-goods report and a number of disappointing earnings releases had investors concerned this afternoon, and the mixed market results confirmed that many market participants aren't truly sure whether now is the time to buy or sell. This morning's report on durable-goods orders showed that March came in much lower than many expected after a 4.3% gain in February. Orders dropped 5.7% in March, which represented the largest decline in seven months and have some wondering if the recovery is beginning to slow.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) ended the day down 43 points, or 0.29%, and now sits at 14,676. But both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq managed to make today a winning session, as they rose 0.01 points and 0.32 points, respectively, or 0.01%. Of the Dow's 30 components, 15 ended in the red, while the other 15 moved higher. Following are the top three winners of the day and the catalyst for each stock's move.
Shares of Boeing (NYSE: BA ) ended the day higher by 3.01%, making it the third best-performing Dow component. Boeing soared higher after the company announced earnings before the market opened today, and it managed to beat on the bottom line despite missing on the top line. Revenue came in at $18.89 billion, while earnings per share hit $1.44. The uptick came after management said it sees deliveries of the once-grounded 787 Dreamliner, the company's flagship aircraft, to begin in early May, and that all of the already 50 delivered 787s will be fixed and ready to fly by the middle of the month.
The best-performing Dow component of the day was Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) , which rose by 3.79%. Shares may have received a slight boost from the durable-goods report, as it revealed two areas that saw increases last month were computers and communications equipment. But most of the boost probably came from the announcement that the company would unveil its new Xbox gaming console on May 21. The Xbox has been a huge success for Microsoft, and many experts believe the newest device will be, too.
On essentially no positive news, and some slightly negative news, shares of Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) rose by 3.57% today. The durable-goods report indicated that demand for metals fell across the board, which is surely not a good sign for Alcoa, but shares rose on volume, which came in higher than usual at 22 million shares, as opposed to the normal 18 million shares trading hands.
More foolish insight
It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft, our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.