Fear has had a death grip over the market for some time now, but today it's briefly loosening up as investors are encouraged progress can be made during the Fed's two-day meeting concerning monetary policy. An announcement will be made tomorrow afternoon by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke regarding the possibility of further stimulus measures. Positive news is also coming from Spain: 10-year notes retreated below 7% as the country met its target during today's debt auction. The increased positive sentiment boosted July oil futures, with West Texas Intermediate crude pushing $84 per barrel.

Market recap



Gain/Loss %

Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) 110.08 0.86%
S&P 500 13.41 1.00%
Nasdaq 33.14 1.14%

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

After announcing its new hardware addition, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is being rewarded by Wall Street after the typically software-focused company released information about its Surface tablet. Pricing information has not been released yet, so it will be interesting to see if this new tablet can wrestle away market share from the world's largest company, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). Apple's iPads dominate the tablet space. Despite the uncertainty, Microsoft is up 3.5% so far today.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is surging today, leading all Dow components, as rumors are circulating of a possible sale of its non-U.S. Merrill Lynch wealth management division for $2 billion to Swiss bank Julius Baer. Bank of America is up over 5% due to the sale rumors and increased expectations of stimulus release.

Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) will become the biggest prescription drug purchaser in the world after buying 45% of retailer Alliance Boots for $6.7 billion in a cash and stock deal. The news sent Walgreen's share price tumbling by 5.6%. The combination will expand Walgreen's brand into 12 countries, with more than 11,000 stores.

On days like today, investing seems tranquil, as every industry is performing nicely. The fear index is down 3.66%, and good news could be coming out of the Fed tomorrow afternoon, if not sooner. However, now is as important as ever to find outstanding companies that can outperform in the long run as well as supply healthy dividends in the volatile near future. For this reason The Motley Fool has released a new free report detailing three Dow stocks dividend investors need. This report is free, but it will only be offered for a limited time, so get your copy now.