The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is down 0.4% today in an up-and-down day for the market. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book report was released midday and, despite a positive sentiment from the Fed, the market still sold off. Some of that may be a short-term reaction to an increased potential of tapering, which is seen as a negative for stocks.
I think the positive data the Fed is seeing will be good for the economy long term, which will eventually make its way to the market, even if it hasn't today.
The Dow's losses are widespread, with 26 of 30 components in the red today. One company that isn't is Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), which has risen 1.1% as I'm writing.
Microsoft and Nokia move closer to a deal
Microsoft was driven by the European Commission, the EU's antitrust regulator, giving its blessing of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's handset business. The U.S. Department of Justice has also approved the deal, and we can probably expect it to close early next year.
Now the rubber really hits the road for Microsoft. The Nokia deal is supposed to help Microsoft become a bigger rival to Apple and Google in the smartphone business.
There are early signs that Microsoft's strategy may be working. Gartner's Q3 data had Microsoft increasing market share from 2.3% a year ago to 3.6%. It sold more than twice as many units in the quarter, as well.
Can Microsoft get hardware right
Long term, the question, can Microsoft can get hardware right?
The Surface has been a decent success, but certainly isn't taking the world by storm the way the iPad did. The Xbox One has gotten mixed reviews; and then there's the memory of Zune.
It's no guarantee that Microsoft will become a top-notch hardware company, but I don't think it has a choice. Windows 8 needed a starting point to attract other manufacturers, and Nokia was the best way to do that.
For today, that's enough for investors to cheer for; but long term, there are a lot of unknowns.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. 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.