The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) had added about 140 points as of 11:30 a.m. EDT. Dow Jones component and tech giant Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) was up 1% as one of the index's best performers, while shares of major tech stocks Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO ) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) also moved higher.
Industrial production comes in better than expected
Perhaps helping to fuel the Dow Jones' rally on Monday, new Federal Reserve data showed that U.S. industrial production rose 0.6% on a month-over-month basis in February, significantly more than the 0.1% increase economists had expected.
Industrial production isn't the most important of economic indicators, but a better than anticipated reading bodes well for the general strength of the U.S. economy, and by extension, the stock market.
Microsoft could be about to bring Office to the iPad
Microsoft rose amid reports that the company could be about to bring its Office software suite to mobile devices, including Apple's iPad.
According to Reuters, Microsoft has a version of Office ready for the iPad -- it's now up to the company's management to decide when or if to release it. Putting Office on the iPad could lead to a surge of sales for Microsoft's popular productivity software, but it could also all but eliminate the demand for Microsoft's own tablets. Since its release, one of the key selling points of Microsoft's Surface tablet has been that it's the only tablet with a full version of Office.
Alibaba IPO incoming
Yahoo! shares rose more than 3% early on Monday in anticipation of the Alibaba IPO. Yahoo! owns almost a quarter of Alibaba, one of China's largest e-commerce companies, and shareholders are poised to benefit when the company goes public.
Alibaba said it has begun commencing an IPO in the U.S. If Alibaba is valued near $100 billion, as analysts expect, Yahoo! could be about to rake in billions, much of which could be returned to shareholders.
Apple could see a huge upgrade cycle
Apple shares, meanwhile, rose a modest 0.7%. Still, ISI Group was quite positive on the company, predicting a massive iPhone upgrade cycle later this year.
ISI expects Apple to release two new iPhones this year, both with larger screens. The larger iPhones should entice many to upgrade, and could even win back some Android converts. Although Apple's iPhone business has begun to slow, a larger phone could help reignite growth.
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