Volatility was low on Wall Street this week, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) traded in just over a 200-point band for the entire week. By Friday afternoon, the index had fallen 0.32% to settle at 16,106.30, down 446 points for 2014.
There wasn't a lot of economic news out in this short trading week, but reports from the housing industry showed a continued slowing in both existing homebuying, as well as new construction. The cold weather blanketing most of the country may have affected the housing market, but considering the importance housing plays in the economy, it's worth watching as the year moves on.
Leading the way on the Dow Jones Industrial Average this week was Nike (NYSE:NKE), which rose 1.9%. Not only has Nike been knocking the cover off the ball when it comes to earnings, but reports surfaced this week that it will introduce a replica of Marty McFly's Nikes with "power laces" sometime next year. Innovation has been a key to Nike's outperforming the market over the past 30 years, and power laces would only enhance its brand awareness.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) rose 1.7% this week, helped by late-week reports that it will cut the price of Windows 8.1 by 70% for low-priced devices. Reports say that Microsoft will charge $15 for Windows instead of the normal $50 for devices that retail for less than $250. The goal is to expand share among the makers of tablets and low-cost computers, which have been turning to open-source software like Android to power new devices. It's a bold shakeup, but it could also help grow share in a market that's quickly slipping away from Microsoft.
Finally, United Technologies (NYSE:RTX) rose 1.3% this week as its Pratt & Whitney unit continues to gain share in commercial aircraft. A rush of orders for new jet turbines have come in during February, topped off by an order for PurePower Engines in an order from Air Costa for 50 Embraer jets this week. Pratt & Whitney is gaining momentum in its effort to gain share in commercial jets and the last few weeks are a big sign of that.