Home Depot's Stellar Results Spur the Dow's Rally

Stock markets havereturned to their winning ways today after two Federal Reserve officials said the central bank's bond-buying program has been effective and will continue. The continued flow of easy money should push stocks up, and as of 3:15 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up 0.48%, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) has gained 0.33%. 

Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) has enjoyed a 3% bump today. The company just reported first-quarter earnings. Revenue was up 7% to $19.2 billion, and earnings jumped 18% to $1.2 billion, or $0.83 per share -- both well ahead of expectations. The home improvement retailer posted 4.3% same-store sales growth. The housing recovery will drive our economic recovery, and Home Depot's numbers show plenty of progress for the time being.  

JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) has jumped 1.4% after investors learned that Jamie Dimon will keep his role as both chairman of the board and CEO. Preliminary numbers show that only 32.2% of investors voted to separate the two roles, so Dimon beat shareholder advocates in this round. Chalk this up as a loss to shareholder rights everywhere, because this could have been a major win for investors who think the game has been stacked against them. 

Investors have had a more tepid response to Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Xbox One announcement. The new console is the next generation in gaming technology and is the company's effort at becoming the center of the living room. Only time will tell whether Xbox One is a hit, but Microsoft appears to be making solid efforts to integrate its devices into a compatible ecosystem. That's probably the greatest opportunity for Microsoft, and if it is successful it could build a network effect, drawing customers into its ecosystem with Xbox One, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. 

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who have watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In a new premium report on Microsoft, a Motley Fool analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, so are the challenges. The report includes regular updates as key events occur, so be sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.


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