Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen is still learning how to dance around reporters' questions about monetary policy, but today she gave investors what they want to hear. Less than two weeks after spooking investors by indicating that interest rates could rise about six months after the Fed's bond-buying program is complete -- implying that rates would rise roughly a year from now -- Yellen said today that extraordinary support will be needed for "some time."
That's far from a specific timeline, but it was enough to get investors excited. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 0.8% late in trading, with 27 of 30 blue-chip stocks moving higher.
Tech leads the charge
Two tech giants that haven't inspired much in the way of stock gains recently are the top performers of the day. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was up 2.6% after new CEO Satya Nadella shook up the management ranks. Former Nokia chief Stephen Elop will take over the devices group, Scott Guthrie will head the cloud and enterprise group, and Phil Spencer will lead the Xbox division, which is part of the operating systems group.
After announcing Office for iPad last week, and making moves to fortify Xbox and mobile devices, Nadella is making clear his willingness to shake things up quickly. In an internal email on the management shifts, he pointed to wanting Microsoft to "thrive in a mobile-first, cloud-first world"; investors are certainly buying into his vision today.
Meanwhile, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) jumped 1.3% after announcing an additional $740 million investment in Cloudera, putting its stake at 18% of the company. Intel, too, is trying to adapt to a world of cloud computing and mobile devices; the open source database software business conducted by Cloudera is a piece of that new world.
This investment won't transform Intel's business, but in a world of big data this could be a key player in the future. At least Intel is getting a small piece of that pie.