It's often said that you should take good news with a "grain of salt." The good news today came in the form of the market's solid gains. The grain of salt: the primary cause for the bullishness had little to do with the domestic economy.
The catalysts today came from China and Europe, which both showed investors meaningful signs of health. Buoyed by surging Chinese export data and optimism from Europe's central bank, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) rose 80 points, or 0.61%, to close at 13,471 on Thursday.
Although it's true that today's driving force in stocks didn't arise from any news at home, developments from abroad carry a stronger weight in today's global economy. Bank of America's (NYSE:BAC) stock was an exemplar of this interrelationship today, as the bank rallied 3.1%, on signs of a global recovery.
Blue chip bellwether Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), on the other hand, fell 0.9%. In the middle of one of the biggest tech events of the year, the Consumer Electronics Show, it may have struck investors as odd that Microsoft decided to opt out. Shares fell, despite the fact that its business partner, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), rallied 18.7% today, on surprisingly upbeat preliminary earnings.
Nokia's Lumia model sold quite well in the quarter, which may actually have contributed to Microsoft's fall. Today emphasized how much Windows Phone is counting on Nokia's success; the Lumia accounted for more than 80% of Microsoft smartphone sales in the third quarter by some estimates.
In other tech news, shares in the online consumer review business Bazaarvoice (NYSE: BZ) were hit big today, falling nearly 16%. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that a 2012 acquisition of competitor PowerReviews gave Bazaarvoice an unfair amount of power in the market.