Goldman Sachs and IBM Lead the Dow Jones to Record High

The DJIA hit a record high earlier today as the stock market climbs across the board.

May 12, 2014 at 1:41PM
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Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) up to a new record high as tech stocks rebound. As of 1:30 p.m. EDT the Dow was up 101 points to 16,684. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) was up 15 points to 1,894.

Small-cap stocks have sold off this year, down 5% year to date, led by overheated momentum stocks, particularly in the technology and biotech sectors. The Dow Jones has not really been affected by this sell-off as it only includes large, blue-chip stocks. The index reached a new intraday high of 16,695 points earlier. The S&P 500 is also up nearly across the board, except for utilities and some consumer staples.

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Goldman Sachs is up 1.6%, leading the Dow Jones higher today after Barron's made a case for owning Goldman Sachs over the weekend. Barron's column "The Trader" highlighted Bernstein analyst Brad Hintz's case for Goldman Sachs. He argues that while Goldman and the other capital markets banks are facing headwinds, most recently seen in JPMorgan's trading-revenue warning, pricing will get better as new regulations and greater capital requirements mean weaker companies will leave the business. Already, UBS and Morgan Stanley have moved to lower the contribution of their capital-markets businesses, and then last week Barclays announced it plans to cut 7,000 jobs in its investment-banking business to focus on areas where it has strong competitive advantages.

Also leading the Dow up higher today is IBM (NYSE:IBM), up 1.3%. Over the weekend, The New York Times interviewed IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, who acknowledged that the company is going through a "rocky time" but refreshingly offered a long-term view. While analysts are focused on the short term, and many continue to note that IBM has missed revenue expectations for five quarters in a row, Rometty kept her eyes on the big picture, saying: "We are transforming this company for the next decade. That is not a one-year job, not when you're a hundred billion-dollar company."

The company has been divesting lower-margin businesses -- most recently selling its x86 server business to China's Lenovo Group for $2.3 billion -- and expanding into cloud computing. IBM has made some high-profile investments in cloud computing, particularly with its Watson unit, which developed the computer system that famously won Jeopardy!.

At the same time IBM is investing in its business, it has also been returning cash to shareholders through regular dividends, which have risen 500% over the past 10 years to $1.10 per quarter for a 2.3% yield. A strong business that takes a long-term view with smart capital investments is the hallmark of Warren Buffett's strategy. As one of IBM's largest investors, Warren Buffett is betting that the company will be profitable for years to come.

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Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Goldman Sachs. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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