Combined with the long holiday weekend giving investors time to relax and forget about the Fed-induced fears that caused the markets to fall last week and two positive economic data points, market participants pushed the major indexes to extend some very impressive winning streaks today.
After closing higher by 106 points, or 0.69%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has now increased in value every Tuesday for the past 20 weeks. And the Nasdaq has increased the last 10 straight Tuesdays after it ended today higher by 0.86%. Although the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) doesn't have quite the same streak, it also rose higher by 0.63% today and now rests at 1,660, while the Dow has broken the 15,400 mark and sits at 15,409.
One of the two data points came from the Conference Board, which released information indicating that consumer confidence has risen to a five-year high in May. After hitting 69 in April and economists expecting only a 71, the report released today had the confidence index hitting 76.2 for the month of May. The other positive report was pertaining to housing and came from the Case-Schiller index, which showed home prices rose once again in March, and have now increased 11% on a year-over-year basis.
A few Dow winners
The positive reports certainly helped push stocks higher today, but a somewhat negative report from the IDC also seemed to have Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) rising today. The IDC released a research report and figures on estimated total PC shipments for 2013, 2014, and 2017 today, and although it is estimated that shipments will decline by 7.8% in 2013, the IDC believes PC sales will only decline by 1.2% in 2014 partly due to support for Windows XP expiring next year. This announcement is also likely the reason shares of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) rose by 1.82%. But regardless of whether corporations opt to purchase all new hardware or just upgrade the software, Microsoft will likely see Windows 8 sales climb higher in 2014 and that's the real reason Big Softy rose 2.19% today.
Shares of UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) also increased by more than 2% today after it was recently revealed that it would not partake in California's health insurance exchange. The company reported that it wants to sit by and see how the whole process plays out before participating. The exchange is basically a place where all the major insurance companies will offer pricing to customers in a very transparent manner. Since UnitedHealth is sitting out the first big exchange, the company will likely be able to learn from others' mistakes without costing shareholders money.
Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group and owns shares of Microsoft. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
More from The Motley Fool
Does a Strong Start Make 2018 a Sure Winner for Stocks?
Find out whether the so-called "January effect" is real.
Meet the 2018 Dogs of the Dow
Learn the basics of this simple dividend-investing strategy.
The Dow's Worst Day in 2017
Even with big gains, there were some scary times for the average.