It was a bloodbath in early trading on Wall Street today, but around noon EDT traders rushed back into the market and pushed shares higher. By 3:25 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was down just 0.52%, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) was off by 0.78%.
The Shanghai Composite fell 5.3% overnight, sparking a sell-off in Europe and on Wall Street. Goldman Sachs lowered its Chinese growth estimates for both 2013 and 2014, and a liquidity crunch was the talk of markets this morning. But investors soon forgot about China's troubles and took their hands off the "sell" button.
Leading the Dow today is tech giant Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) , 1.9%. The company will show off Windows Blue, formerly known as Windows 8.1, at its Build Conference this week. It's widely expected that Microsoft will bring back familiar features like the "Start" button and respond to other consumer complaints about Windows 8. According to IDC, PC sales were down 14% in the first quarter, and one of the reasons was a lack of enthusiasm for Windows 8, so the hope is that Blue will get consumers excited again.
You wouldn't think investors were excited about PCs by looking at Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ ) chart today. The stock is down 3.9% as the volatile ride for investors continues. Dell's (NASDAQ: DELL ) board of directors shot down Carl Icahn's takeover plan today, saying it was "lacking credibility," and that probably means Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners will take the driver's seat in takeover efforts. HP would likely have been better off with a takeover by Icahn, who isn't known for his moves in the tech world. A Michael Dell-led company will be a stronger rival to HP, and that's a big part of the drop today.
HP is still a risky bet, but investors should look for progress in the company's long-term plan to return to solid profit, rather than focusing on the day-to-day volatility of the stock. An improved Windows 8 is a piece of that puzzle, so if Microsoft scores a win with Windows Blue this week, the benefits will slowly spread to HP as well.
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