While we all wait for Ben Bernanke's comments expected at 2:15 p.m. EDT this afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is trading much higher. As of 12:30 p.m. EDT, the index is at 13,411, up 77.67 points, or 0.58%. Of the 30 Dow components, 15 are currently negative for the day. Three of the companies trading lower are PC technology companies -- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) -- while another is aircraft producer Boeing (NYSE:BA).
So why are they down?
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing is trading lower by 0.37% after an announcement came indicating that merger negotiations between Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defense & Space and BAE Systems are moving forward. The deal would have more of an impact on the defense industry, but Boeing would also be affected. The merger would put Airbus in a stronger financial position, which could change its pricing strategies in the future. Furthermore, Airbus would gain access to technology that had been developed on the defense side of the business and be able to use it for commercial aircraft.
With more analyst downgrades and warning signs coming from the PC market, Microsoft is trading lower by 0.63%. One of Citigroup's analysts cut his rating on Intel, Advanced Mirco Devices, and Marvell Technology Group from buy to hold. The analyst, Glen Yeung, said, "Robbed of catalyst, we see limited likelihood PC-related shares will appreciate meaningfully in the coming months." This paints a bleak picture for Microsoft, which will soon debut its long-awaited Windows 8 operating system. Yeung went further and revised his 2013 estimates, which now predict a -1% PC growth rate.
Intel is only trading slightly lower on the news, down just 0.19% for the day -- though it's now down more than 4% year to date. Hewlett-Packard, another PC-related Dow component, is also down on the news. Trading lower by 0.67%, HP is now down more than 30% year to date, and there does not seem to be any good news coming to the rescue anytime soon.
With a major merger in the works, Boeing shareholders will need to keep a close eye on future developments. Falling asleep in the cockpit could allow your portfolio to crash and burn. On the tech side, I am going to agree with Citigroup's analyst and recommend investors stay away from the chip and PC manufacturers. However, Microsoft is another story. I believe the company's move into smartphones and diversification into more than software will keep revenue growing for the foreseeable future. But don't just take my word; read this premium report which tells current and prospective Microsoft investors all about the risks and opportunities facing the company. Best of all, the report comes with a year of updates. Click here before it's gone.