The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) had a rough week at the end of September, but the index is roaring into October like an angry bull.

A broad market rally is boosting the Dow by 0.9%, or 124 points, as of this writing. The largest percentage gains come from the financial sector as Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) jumped 2.5% and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) added 2.2%. A sunny report on American manufacturing activity shines a favorable light on economic growth prospects, which would give entrepreneurs of all stripes plenty of reason to look for financial services. The economy runs on loans and savings, after all.

Several tickers from the tech sector also camp out at the top of today's Dow, including International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM). Since IBM holds the heaviest weight of the 30 Dow blue chips, that move alone added 26 points to the index value. Big Blue can credit this jump to the same favorable economic wave as everyone else, but heavyweight analyst firm Deutsche Bank also helped by raising its price targets on IBM by 7%. These tidbits can move markets.

But this rising tide didn't lift every boat. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is today's biggest loser and one of only two Dow stocks trading in the red right now. Investors take a dim view of Mr. Softy's imminent launch of Windows 8 for both mobile and traditional hardware platforms, and today's 0.9% price drop brings Microsoft to a 4.3% negative return over the last 30 days. The Dow has gained 3.4% over the same period.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.