Microsoft Charges to Lead the Dow's Hundred-Point Surge

Stocks have kicked off the new week in a big way so far, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  )  was up more than 136 points as of 2:30 p.m. EDT. All but a few of the blue-chip index's member stocks were in the green today. Microsoft  (NASDAQ: MSFT  )  has impressed as of late, with the tech stock gaining 2.7% to lead the Dow today. Meanwhile, health care is making waves around the market with big news out of Dow member Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) . Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Is Europe stimulus on the way?
Hope is rising around investment circles over the potential for stimulus moves from the European Central Bank. The ECB won't budge on its monetary policy when it meets later this week, but downbeat inflation statistics across Europe have engendered thoughts that the central bank might pull the trigger on action sooner rather than later. The eurozone's inflation fell to 0.5% in March, down from February's 0.7% and falling just below economist predictions. This is the third-straight month of decline; with the ECB targeting near-2% inflation -- and with Europe desperate to climb out of its economic doldrums -- it's worth keeping an eye on whether the central bank takes a harder stance on jump-starting its economy.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Leweb Photos

Microsoft has capitalized on a different sort of optimism today. Investors continue to rally around the company's recent moves under new CEO Satya Nadella, as Microsoft's release of Office for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iPad led to the Word app reaching the App Store's sixth overall spot in its chart of highest-grossing apps. While the move may not be great news for the allure of Microsoft's own competing tablet, the Surface, it shows Nadella's willingness to marry Microsoft's best products with the tech world's giants.

Microsoft isn't out of the game in the mobile hardware business by any means, either: The company expects to close its acquisition of Nokia's mobile division next month, and Nadella's potential to introduce more of a mobile edge to Microsoft's portfolio offers tantalizing possibilities to the company's future.

Pfizer, up 0.72%, is following up on a very active week last week with another big announcement that came late in the day on Friday. FDA regulators approved Pfizer's nonprescription version of AstraZeneca's (NYSE: AZN  ) strong-selling acid reflux therapy Nexium, which should enable Pfizer to rake in big sales for its over-the-counter drug business.

Pfizer purchased the rights to the over-the-counter Nexium 24HR for $250 million two years ago from AstraZeneca, but it's not a complete loss for the latter. AstraZeneca will pull in royalties from Pfizer's sales, although that won't be much of a relief to investors concerned about Nexium's patent loss this May, a real danger for AstraZeneca considering the drug made more than $3.8 billion last year. Pfizer won't make anywhere near that much with its over-the-counter version, but it's still a worthy addition to an expansive drug portfolio.

Start your journey to stock market riches today
Millions of Americans have waited on the sidelines since the market meltdown in 2008 and 2009, too scared to invest and put their money at further risk. Yet those who've stayed out of the market have missed out on huge gains and put their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you why investing is so important and what you need to do to get started. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2897238, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/28/2014 7:32:38 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement