The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 48 points by 11:30 a.m. EDT in what has been an up-and-down morning of trading. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was one of the index's best performers before sliding, while tech stocks Fusion-io (NYSE:FIO.DL) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) were also experiencing notable moves to the upside.
Empire Manufacturing beats expectations
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey reading of 19.28 for June exceeded economists' consensus 15 estimate. This economic indicator, released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, sheds some light on the strength of New York's economy.
A better than expected reading, then, should be seen as a positive sign for the economy and, by extension, the stock market. However, it isn't the most important of economic indicators, being limited to a single region, and thus it isn't particularly surprising that the Dow Jones has not experienced much of a reaction.
Microsoft announces Azure ML
Microsoft rose nearly 1% in morning trading on Monday, but then slid to just under breakeven, after the company announced Azure ML, a new cloud-based machine learning service.
With Azure ML, Microsoft's customers will be able to build analytic tools that, by leveraging the power of big data, can predict future events. Using Microsoft's cloud, companies will be able to forecast future demand, for example, or know when machines are likely to need maintenance.
Microsoft will offer a public preview of Azure ML next month -- its official launch date remains unknown. In time, Azure ML could become a major product for Microsoft, although it's difficult to assess the size of the market.
Apple's iWatch is coming
Apple shares rose more than 0.5% on Monday. The move may have been due to a positive profile of CEO Tim Cook in The New York Times.
Positive press may have excited Apple shareholders, but most significant may have been the paper's mention of the iWatch. Citing sources, the paper reiterated a common rumor that Apple is on track to release a health-monitoring iWatch sometime in the near future.
The iWatch wouldn't be a surprise at this point, but further confirmation of a new product is great for Apple shareholders. A new product could bring in additional revenue and boost Apple's earnings.
SanDisk agrees to buy Fusion-io
Fusion-io was one of tech's biggest gainers Monday, rising more than 22%. The rally comes following an announcement that SanDisk, the maker of flash memory, has agreed to purchase the company.
Recent investors should cheer the acquisition, but longer-term shareholders are likely underwater. Even at such a large premium to Friday's closing price, Fusion-io is being acquired at a price below its 2011 initial public offering.
SanDisk is spending just over $1 billion on Fusion-io. For the price, it gains the company's technology, which allows flash memory to better tackle enterprise applications.