The Dow Fights for Gains as IBM Keeps Rising and JPMorgan Chase Slides

Following a record-setting performance yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  )  was up 10 points as of 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, with many market participants crediting this morning's ADP private-sector employment report that showed a gain of 281,000 jobs in June. A decline in factory orders dampened enthusiasm in the market, though, and many investors want to wait until tomorrow's official government jobs report before drawing conclusions about the state of U.S. economic growth. IBM (NYSE: IBM  )  helped pull the Dow up this morning, but JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) was among the declining stocks in the average.

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IBM gained over 1%, adding to its nearly 3% leap on Tuesday. The Dow tech component continued to emphasize its cloud-computing strategy this morning, introducing new social software products designed to help IBM's enterprise customers improve their ability to share information and collaborate on key projects in real time. With its IBM Connections 5 platform now available on its cloud marketplace, IBM hopes to give clients the ability to customize sharing among employees and other stakeholders to boost overall productivity. Another reason why Big Blue is getting bullish attention today is the reassurance from the CEO of China-based Lenovo that its deal to buy IBM's low-end server unit for $2.3 billion would overcome concerns over national security and close by the end of 2014. The move will help IBM focus more on high-margin cloud services such as Connections 5 and hopefully lead to greater net income, even as sales have been weak recently.

JPMorgan Chase dropped about 1% following news yesterday that Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon has throat cancer. For his part, Dimon intends to continue leading the company as he receives chemotherapy and radiation treatments to fight the disease. Yet even though bank officials have said that JPMorgan has succession plans in place in the event that Dimon must give up his executive role, investors have lacked a strong sense of who would be the logical candidate to take over in the future. Indeed, with certain potential succession candidates having left JPMorgan recently, some worry about the extent to which JPMorgan depends on Dimon as the bank attempts to restore its reputation to pre-crisis levels while fighting tough macroeconomic and regulatory conditions in the industry.

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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8/27/2015 3:21 PM
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