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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.
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers might not be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, but he still had an outsized effect on the stock market today. With Summers withdrawing his name from consideration, Vice Chairman Janet Yellen is now considered the front-runner for the spot. Wall Street thinks Yellen is less likely to quickly wind down the monthly stimulus program, and the specter of more easy-money policies sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) up 118 points, or 0.8%, to end at 15,494.
Helping to power the Dow's gains, Boeing (NYSE: BA ) stock jumped 3.9% Monday as the company's newest Dreamliner model prepares to hit the runway. Shares ended at their highest levels in more than 30 years after a Stern Agee analyst raised his price target on Boeing to $164 per share, implying a 41% upside to today's closing price. Boeing also looks like a lock to win South Korea's $7.6 billion bid for aircrafts after its competition came in over budget.
General Electric (NYSE: GE ) was the Dow's second-best performer of the day, adding 1.5%. GE benefited from the success of the industrials sector, which was the top-performing area of the markets today. GE has all sorts of business segments, ranging from power to finance to appliances to aerospace, and it's been able to manage its portfolio well this year, with its stock up 15% this year.
Technology stocks, however, didn't do so well Monday, ending as the only sector in the red, a theme reflected by today's two worst blue-chip showings. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) shed 0.7%, as competition in the cloud continues to build. Microsoft Office 365, the company's enterprise-oriented online platform for Office tools, is facing competition from up-and-coming companies like Box and Dropbox.
Lastly, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) dropped 1.5%, further exemplifying the weak tech sector. It doesn't help that shares will be dropped from the Dow at the end of the week, although its fall from grace should hardly impact HP's actual business. What is an issue for the company going forward is the rapid move from PCs to tablets, a shift in consumer sentiment that's been painful for PC-centric businesses like HP.