The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) topped 30,000 for the first time Tuesday as investors piled into stocks. The Dow was up about 1.5% at 1:55 p.m. EDT. Some combination of COVID-19 vaccine optimism, hopes for new stimulus spending, and the move by the General Services Administration to call Joe Biden the apparent winner of the U.S. presidential election may be contributing to Tuesday's gains.
Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) were up on Tuesday after an analyst predicted more gains for the tech stock thanks to growing cloud and subscription software businesses. Boeing (NYSE:BA) also booked gains after Europe's aviation regulators started the process of ungrounding the 737 MAX.
Microsoft gets a buy rating
Shares of software and cloud computing giant Microsoft rose on Tuesday after an analyst at KeyBanc began covering the stock with an overweight rating. KeyBanc analyst Michael Turits also attached a $250 price target. Microsoft stock was up 1.6% early Tuesday afternoon, trading right around $213.
Turits based his optimism on the strength of Microsoft's cloud and subscription software businesses. Turits believes the tech giant will be able to produce 11% annual revenue growth for the next few years, driven primarily by those two businesses.
Microsoft hasn't felt much of a sting from the pandemic so far. The company reported a 12% rise in revenue and a 32% jump in per-share earnings for the fiscal first quarter, beating analyst estimates by a mile. The company has benefited from strong demand for PCs, and demand for cloud computing services and gaming products has remained elevated throughout the pandemic.
The one area Microsoft is feeling some pain is the commercial PC business. The company expects a high single-digit decline in Windows Pro OEM revenue in its fiscal second quarter driven by weak commercial demand. For non-Pro versions of Windows OEM, the company expects robust growth to continue.
Microsoft is not a cheap stock after rallying hard this year. Shares of the tech giant currently trade for around 35 times earnings, a historically high level. If Microsoft does start to feel a pinch as its enterprise customers pull back on spending during the current wave of the pandemic, investors may not remain as optimistic on the stock.
Including Tuesday's gain, shares of Microsoft are up about 35% since the start of the year.
Boeing's 737 MAX on track for return in Europe
The news is finally starting to turn positive for Boeing and its beleaguered 737 MAX. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recertified the plane for commercial service last week, meaning that airlines can begin using the planes again once required maintenance and pilot training is complete.
On Tuesday, European regulators began the process of allowing the 737 MAX to fly again on the continent. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will require new pilot training and updated software for the flight control system that was deemed responsible for the two fatal crashes that led to the plane's grounding in 2019. A 28-day comment period has now begun, and EASA expects the plane to be officially ungrounded in mid-January.
While the 737 MAX should be carrying passengers again in the coming months, selling the plane to airlines struggling with depressed demand for air travel due to the pandemic won't be easy. It may take years for passenger volumes to fully recover, especially if the economic impacts of the pandemic continue to play out long after vaccines are widely available.
Shares of Boeing were up 3.3% Tuesday afternoon. The stock is still down roughly 33% so far this year.