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The PC Is Dying, but the Dow Is Flying

By Travis Hoium - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:33PM

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A big decline in PC sales has sunk two of the Dow's most well-known stocks.

Another day, another intraday record for stock markets. Late in trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.03%) is up 0.4%, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.01%) has risen 0.35%, continuing a bullish run for stocks. The Department of Labor said today that new jobless claims fell 42,000 to 346,000 last week, and with little else to focus on, the market decided that was enough to bid stocks higher.

Pfizer's (PFE 3.59%) 2.4% jump has led the Dow today. U.S. regulators have classified cancer treatment palbociclib as a breakthrough therapy, which should speed up its approval process. The pill is in late-stage testing as an early treatment for postmenopausal women with breast cancer. There hasn't been a lot of good news for pharmaceutical companies lately, so the market is latching on to this and running with it.

On the downside, the PC sector took a huge hit yesterday when IDC said PC sales fell 13.9% in the first quarter. This has pushed shares of Microsoft (MSFT -0.23%) and Intel (INTC -0.86%) down 5% and 2%, respectively. Investors were clinging to hope that PC sales would stabilize while Microsoft and Intel prepared for their mobile futures, but that doesn't appear to be the case. According to IDC analyst Jay Chou, corporate buyers are putting off PC purchases because computers are lasting longer and users want to avoid updating to Windows 8.

There's really no positive way to spin this, and investors need to start thinking about bailing on the PC if they haven't already. Both Microsoft and Intel have other businesses, but the PC is still at their core, and that's why their stocks are down so much today.

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Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$31,261.90 (0.03%) $8.77
Intel Corporation Stock Quote
Intel Corporation
INTC
$41.65 (-0.86%) $0.36
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
PFE
$52.47 (3.59%) $1.82
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$252.56 (-0.23%) $0.58
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$3,901.36 (0.01%) $0.57

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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