The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) touched an all-time high of 16,845 this afternoon, marking the seventh record high this year. The European Union's decision to add more monetary stimulus to the economy and turn deposit rates slightly negative has investors cheering, even if it's really a sign of how bad conditions in Europe are.
Leading the Dow today is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which has changed from a Dow dog to an outperformer almost overnight.
What's driving Microsoft today
The catalyst for Microsoft today was an analyst note from FBR Capital Markets' Daniel Ives, who said CEO Satya Nadella's plans to shift the company's focus toward mobile and the cloud are going well. He also raised his price target from $43 to $49.
But the bigger news was that Microsoft expects Windows 8 mobile devices to cost less than $200 by year's end. OEM partners vice president Nick Parker said in a keynote speech at Computex that Windows Phone smartphones will sell for less than $200 this year as Microsoft targets the lower end of the market. Microsoft began offering its operating system free for devices smaller than 9 inches, and it appears manufacturers are starting to take advantage.
More of Microsoft's revenue will come from cloud services and enterprise software as a result of the shift, but it's necessary for Microsoft to gain share and not allow its high-tech rivals to control the world's mobile devices.
It'll be a slow process to gain market share, but Nadella is making progress, and with shares trading at 14 times forward estimates and the stock paying a 2.8% dividend yield, there's good value to be found for investors.