After trading slightly lower for most of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is about 10 points under breakeven near the end of trading. On the economic front, an index of consumer sentiment fell slightly in May and the Commerce Department said consumer spending fell 0.1% in April.
The tepid consumer is understandable given the slow growth in recent months, but for growth to hit the 3% annual rate Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser predicted today, consumer confidence will have to increase.
One company that's gaining investors' confidence is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which was up 1.2% and once again one of the Dow's best stocks.
Microsoft is taking business mobile
The driving force of Microsoft's move today is a deal with salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) that will bring cloud-based data to more Microsoft devices. Apps for Windows and Windows Phone devices will be able to access Salesforce's information, and interoperability with Office 365 will be improved as well. As Microsoft tries to increase its mobile and cloud-based presence, enterprise information like this will draw business customers to Windows devices.
The deal comes less than two weeks after Microsoft announced another agreement to bring SAP's enterprise data to apps and cloud services meant for mobile.
One of the challenges with cloud-based technology is that different clouds don't necessarily operate well together. Microsoft is trying to address that situation via the agreements with Salesforce and SAP, and make data accessible not only on Windows devices but also with Microsoft's cloud software like Office 365 that may be used on other devices.
The strategy shift has been launched largely after Satya Nadella took over as CEO from Steve Ballmer earlier this year. Nadella is shifting the company to a more mobile future and that should be a good move for shareholders in the long term.
Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Salesforce.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. 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.