The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) rose more than 118 points early on Friday, led higher by telecom giant AT&T (NYSE:T). However, tech stocks Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) and Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) were experiencing notable declines.
Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota dissented from the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision earlier this week. On Friday, he asserted in a statement that the Fed was in error by dropping its unemployment rate targeting for action on increasing rates. Kocherlakota believes the Fed should have stated outright that interest rates would be kept near 0% until the unemployment rate hit 5.5%.
Kocherlakota's argument may have been helping fuel the Dow Jones' rally on Friday, as it suggests the Federal Reserve could continue to support the economy for longer than otherwise anticipated. Still, as a dissenter, Kocherlakota is in the minority among monetary policymakers.
AT&T edges up
AT&T shares were up 1% to slightly outperform the index. AT&T announced that it had invested nearly $1 billion in South Carolina in recent years, strengthening its position in the region. The telecom giant also announced that it will report quarterly earnings on April 22.
Plug Power stumbles
Plug Power shares were down more than 8% in early trading. There wasn't any news in particular to explain Plug Power's sell-off, but the stock has been notoriously volatile in recent sessions.
Now trading near $5.50, Plug Power shares have almost been cut in half in just the last few weeks. Still, the fuel-cell company's shares remain far higher than last December, when shares were trading under $2.
Although Plug Power reported a stronger than expected quarter earlier this month, the rapid move in company shares appears to be the product of aggressive speculation -- investors betting on a new energy paradigm.
Symantec fires its CEO
Symantec shares were down more than 13%. But unlike Plug Power, there was real news to explain the sell-off: Symantec announced that it had fired its CEO on Thursday.
Symantec, the maker of the popular Norton antivirus software, has been pressured by the move away from traditional PCs. The company had been working to turn around its business, but evidently the effort was not going as well as the board anticipated. A new management team could help to reverse Symantec's fortunes, but a fired CEO suggests the business is performing poorly.