The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was up 131 points as of 11:35 a.m. EDT Wednesday. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) was one of the index's best-performing tech stocks, while Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU ) also posted a notable gain. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) shares fell about 1%.
Federal Reserve minutes coming this afternoon
There were few major economic reports released early Wednesday, and none significant enough to explain the Dow Jones' triple-digit gain. But coming up is the release of the minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting.
The minutes should shed light on how the Federal Reserve views the economy, and may indicate how long it plans to continue its aggressive stimulus program. Although the Dow Jones was up in the morning, investors should expect some volatility if the release casts doubt on the Fed's commitment to continued bond buying.
Microsoft announces its best Surface yet
Microsoft yesterday rolled out its latest Surface tablet, the Surface Pro 3. Unlike its predecessors, the Surface Pro 3 is thin and light, and it has a 12-inch screen better suited for work.
Microsoft believes the Surface Pro 3 can double as a laptop and a tablet, which is a type of the device it has been seeking since releasing the original Surface almost two years ago. The Surface Pro 3 fixes many of the problems the prior Surface tablets faced. Still, with a starting price of $799 (over $900 with the keyboard cover), Microsoft's latest tablet may remain a niche device.
Micron rises on reports of long-term deals
Micron shares were up 1.4% after a report from Digitimes indicated that customers were seeking to sign long-term deals with the DRAM chip supplier.
If the report is accurate, it's a good sign for Micron: such long-term deals would create reliable income streams for Micron's business. Moreover, it would highlight the strength of its position in the DRAM market.
Apple said to be planning new hardware
Apple shares declined modestly after 9to5Mac reported the tech giant plans to unveil new hardware next month at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple has a history of unveiling new devices at the conference, and a new product category could excite investors.
9to5Mac believes that a MacBook Air with Retina display is most likely, but that the long-anticipated iWatch or next-generation Apple TV could also appear. A MacBook Air with a Retina display would be nice, and the logical step for the company's Mac line, but less exciting for investors. An entirely new product category would likely propel the stock, drawing both investors and Apple customers. Investors interested in Apple should keep a close eye on the June 2 event.
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