Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
The stock market often reacts negatively when unanticipated events happen, but typically, as more information becomes available, investors start to get more comfortable with the implications of those events. That's evident in today's trading, as markets moved higher despite an upcoming vote from the Senate on whether to authorize the use of force against Syria. Even with all the unpredictable consequences of escalating tensions in the Middle East, stocks pushed higher, with the the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) climbing 67 points as of 10:55 a.m. EDT.
Crosscurrents in the technology industry highlighted the Dow's two biggest movers. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) has dropped more than 2%, adding to yesterday's losses following its announcement that it will buy the mobile division of partner Nokia. A forecast from analyst IDC projected that smartphone shipments would grow 40% and exceed 1 billion units this year as a combination of continuing subsidies and lower-priced smartphone offerings support heightened demand. Although the analyst sees Windows' share of the smartphone operating-system market rising to more than 10% by 2017, investors apparently don't think such minimal gains are worth the price Microsoft paid for the mobile-device making unit.
By contrast, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) leads the gainers this morning with a rise of 2.3%. The chipmaker continues to hope that its Haswell line of lower-power chips will find their way into more smartphones and other devices, taking advantage of the huge growth in that segment even as Intel's core PC business could keep suffering. Investors are apparently guessing that the long-anticipated chips will appeal to device makers seeking longer battery life. With the ability to power both smartphones and bigger devices like ultrabooks, the chips could help Intel boost its sluggish sales growth of the recent past.
Finally, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) has risen 1.6% despite a report from Reuters that an FBI probe is targeting the bank. The report cites allegations that JPMorgan employees might have obstructed efforts from regulators to discover whether the bank had engaged in manipulation of energy markets. JPMorgan had settled the case from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for $410 million back in July, but the new probe simply raises yet another legal challenge among many that the bank has had to deal with over the past several years.
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