The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 34 points as of 11:30 a.m. EDT. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) underperformed its index, while Chinese tech stocks Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU), Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) and Ctrip.com (NASDAQ:CTRP) -- surged higher.
Waiting for the Fed
There was little economic news to affect the Dow Jones' on Tuesday -- with no major releases, investors were free to focus on individual stocks. That could change this afternoon.
Federal Reserve governors Narayana Kocherlakota and Charles Plosser are scheduled to speak later today, and the content of their speeches could weigh on the Dow. Kocherlakota, president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, is a noted dove who dissented with the Federal Open Market Committee's last decision on monetary policy. Plosser, president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, is more of a hawk and more willing to encourage additional tapering of the Fed's asset purchase program.
Baidu could add rival travel website
One of Baidu's properties, Qunar, is reportedly in discussions to merge with Ctrip.com, a rival Chinese travel website, according to Bloomberg. If not a complete merger, the two companies could form a mutually beneficial partnership.
As the company that could be acquired, Ctrip.com was up more than 8%, while Baidu rose a relative tame 6.3%. A merger would obviously be beneficial to Ctrip.com shareholders, but by working together the two companies could be better positioned to compete in the Chinese travel industry,
Sohu.com also rallies
Part of those companies' gains may have been have simply been an industry-wide rally. Sohu.com, another Chinese Internet stock, was also up more than 5%, though there was no news in particular to explain its move.
Sohu.com's rally may have simply been a bounce off recent lows. The sell-off that's ravaged tech stocks in recent days has been hard on all Chinese Internet stocks, and Sohu.com in particular. Even as it spiked on Tuesday, shares are still down more than 4% over the past five sessions.
Microsoft drops despite receiving Chinese approval
Microsoft was down just 0.2% despite receiving a key approval from the Chinese government.
China has agreed to Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's handset business, a deal first announced last fall. With the confirmation, Microsoft will formally acquire Nokia's smartphone assets later this month and begin production of Nokia's Windows phones and tablets. The deal wasn't expected to run into any regulatory issues, but China's agreement is still a good development for Microsoft. Nevertheless, investors apparently weren't impressed by the news.