3M's Huge Day Spurs Gains Despite the Dow's Sluggishness

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.

Stocks are struggling today despite big gains from several big names. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has fallen flat after earlier morning gains. Near the end of trading, the Dow is sitting within two points of breakeven, with the majority of its 30 member stocks seeing losses on the day. But 3M  (NYSE: MMM  ) posted a big rise for shareholders, picking up about 2.9% and leading the Dow. Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) is also bolstering the index with strong gains. Let's check out what you need to know.

3M's big plans
3M has already had a good year by posting gains of about 35% since January, but the company excited investors even more today by announcing that it will boost its quarterly dividend yield by 35%. Furthermore, 3M said it plans to spend $22 billion on share repurchases over the next five years, along with $10 billion on acquisitions through 2017.

The company also chimed in with long-term earnings-per-share growth projections of between 9% and 11% through 2017, with a full-year EPS guidance for next year that pleased analysts. The financial optimism comes as 3M's largest business divisions have made strong headway in 2013: The company's industrial segment, its largest unit by revenue, grew sales by 6.5% through the first nine months of 2013, and four of 3M's five top-selling units overall managed revenue growth through that time. If the company can keep it up, it won't have a problem continuing to please investors in the future.

Cisco's hot new collab
Cisco's also on the move today, with the tech stock up around 1.4% so far. The company announced today that it's acquiring start-up software developer Collaborate.com for an undisclosed amount. Cisco hopes the deal will help fuel its push into enterprise workstreams. It's also a mobile play, according to Cisco, helping the company push its software development into tech's hottest growth area.

It's a small but innovative move for Cisco, and one that's promising for shareholders if the company can keep it up. Cisco's been bogged down with sluggish sales growth as of late, as its four largest business units by revenue all experienced slow revenue growth or revenue declines in the firm's most recent quarter. Cisco's strong switching business continues to be the powerhouse of the company, generating a full 40% of Cisco's total revenue. If the company can diversify through niche pickups like Collaborate.com and expand into mobile and other hot fields, it'll be a win for investors in the long term.

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