After a tumultuous two days, the markets calmed down today, seeming to come to terms with the Fed's announcement that it's bond-buying program could end within a year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) gained 41 points, the first session in nine that it's had less than a 100-point swing, finishing up 0.3%. The recovery, coming after yesterday's bloodbath, seemed to indicate that there was still bullish sentiment among investors, as there were no economic reports released today to further influence investors. Notably, a Wall Street Journal report said the Fed's taper may not come as soon as expected, which also helped stocks recover. Treasury rates continued to claim as the 10-year T-Note yield rose again, hitting 2.51%. The rising yield could put pressure on the housing market by pushing up mortgage rates.
Leading all Dow stocks today was Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) , gaining 2.9%. There was no major news out on the consumer goods giant today, but on Wednesday, the company announced a new partnership with fashion designer Alexander McQueen, wherein its P&G Prestige division will produce and sell designer fragrances under the Alexander McQueen label. P&G may also be benefiting today form its position as a defensive stock, as any slowdown in the economy from the Fed's taper will affect it less than other blue chips. Coca-Cola, another defensive stock, was the Dow's second-biggest gainer, moving up 1.6%.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) , meanwhile, was the blue chips' worst performer, falling 2.3%. The only company-specific news, which doesn't seem to have caused the drop, is that the PC maker said it is switching legal teams in its lawsuit against Autonomy. Its $10.3 billion acquisition of the software maker led to an $8.8 billion write down last November. Oddly, today's drop comes after Wells Fargo upgraded HP yesterday to outperform, saying the tech company could achieve earnings growth even without increasing revenue if it transitions its product mix to areas it fully owns.
Looking ahead to next week, there aren't any huge events on the calendar like we saw from this week, but we'll hear updates on consumer confidence, the housing market, and manufacturing, all of which could help markets recover.
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