Intel and Merck Pull the Dow Into the Green

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Economic data this morning was weaker than expected, and stock markets have had mixed reactions in trading today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.58% near the end of trading on the back of big gains for Merck and Intel , but the Nasdaq is down 0.15%, while the broad S&P 500  is only up 0.25%.

The major economic news was a 49 reading for the Institute for Supply Management's U.S. manufacturing index. A reading of less than 50 indicates contraction in manufacturing, so this is a small sign that the economy is slowing. 

On a company level, Merck leads the Dow with a 3.6% gain after presenting results from an early-stage cancer treatment. A drug called lambrolizumab was said to significantly shrink tumors in 38% of patients with advanced melanoma -- a remarkably good result for a cancer drug. The drug is still in early development stages, but the FDA has already given it a "breakthrough therapy" designation, which should speed up the approval process.  

Intel is also bucking a down market, jumping 3.2% today. Late last week the stock jumped after reports circulated that Samsung would choose Intel to power its next generation Galaxy, and today it has been confirmed that Intel chips will be featured in the Galaxy Tab 3. This is a huge win for Intel, which has struggled to gain traction in the mobile market and has introduced a line of chips called Haswell to improve performance and battery life.  

Watch for more tablet and hybrid tablet-PC device announcements this week at Computex trade show, which doesn't actually start until tomorrow. Intel is also expected to unveil its next-generation processor, so investors will get a peak at a make-or-break mobile bet by the company. 

When it comes to dominating markets, it doesn't get much better than Intel's position in the PC microprocessor arena. However, that market is maturing, and Intel must find new avenues for growth. In this premium research report on Intel, a Motley Fool analyst runs through all of the key topics investors should understand about the chip giant. Click here now to learn more.

The article Intel and Merck Pull the Dow Into the Green originally appeared on

Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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