As we approach the final minutes of trading, equity markets appear on track to start the week strong, with encouraging news from Greece and China more than offsetting an unexpected drop in U.S. consumer confidence. All major indexes are trading higher today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) up nearly 100 points to 12,551 in recent trading.
Big stimulus in China?
Leading the charge higher for Dow components is Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) , up 2.5% on the day following reports of additional stimulus in the People's Republic. Highly leveraged to Chinese investment projects, Caterpillar stands to benefit from new infrastructure spending. The Asia-Pacific region's weakness was cited in Caterpillar's latest earnings report, and this news will certainly help address investor concerns. United Technologies (NYS: UTX) comes in at a close second, up 2.2% on the day. The Asia-Pacific region has been a strong contributor to top-line growth for the aerospace and building systems conglomerate, with the region posting high double-digit revenue growth last year. In other company news, United recently closed on the largest corporate-bond offering of the past few years, issuing $9.8 billion in conjunction with its acquisition of Goodrich.
The social media bloodbath continues this week, with the Facebook (NAS: FB) debacle falling to a new level today, as shares of the social network have broken the $30 threshold for the first time since the IPO on May 18. In recent trading, shares were down 10% to $28.70 on speculation that Facebook is looking to acquire Opera Software, a Norwegian company specializing in low-bandwidth mobile web browsing. Monetizing a growing population of mobile users is a huge overhang for Facebook, and numerous analysts are already on the record with comments shredding any move to acquire Opera. Trading in Facebook options also debuted today with great fanfare, as the new market to speculate on Facebook's future became the second-most-actively traded listing behind Apple.
Also trading lower is social media player Zynga (NAS: ZNGA) . Shares of the gaming company are down more than 9% in recent trading and testing the $6 level. While the derivative impact from negative Facebook sentiment has been an ongoing drag, today shares are bearing the brunt of additional selling due to the Monday expiration of its IPO lock-up period. This impact is evidenced by today's trading volume reaching more than double the three-month average.
The negative sentiment surrounding Facebook is palpable, and at this point I'm not convinced it's overdone. Facebook has a lot to prove as a public company, but if you're looking for an online leader that's already proving itself, this company is a fraction of Facebook's size but boasts some revenue weapons the social networking juggernaut probably wishes it had. Find out more about this company in our special report: "Forget Facebook - Here's the Tech IPO You Should Be Buying." Pick up your free copy today by clicking here.
At the time thisarticle was published Brenton Flynn has no stake in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.
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