Cautious Investors Keep the Dow Quiet


The Dow Jones Industrial Average is in sleep mode today. There's little movement across the index; investors seem generally content to play it safe rather than make a move as earnings season comes upon us. As of 2:15 p.m. EST, the index has lost just seven points -- less than 0.1%. While a familiar face in the tech sector is having a tough day, most stocks are fairly evenly split between gainers and losers.

HP leads in volatility
Unsurprisingly, it's Hewlett-Packard again that's hogging the spotlight on the Dow. What more is left to say about this stock, which is down 2.5% after its hot start to the year? While turnaround investors have been snatching up shares recently, hoping to pick up the tech giant at its lowest, HP's problems aren't going away. This company's still a risky bet for any investor, and the huge swings we've been accustomed to on a daily basis attest to that.

Telecom stocks aren't having a great day, either, with both Verizon and AT&T losing about 1% apiece. UBS hit Verizon with a downgrade from "buy" to "neutral," citing a lower wireless-profit forecast, and cut the stock's price target. With third-place telecom Sprintstill far behind these two, however, Verizon and AT&T are still relatively safe bets. Each stock has gained more than 9% over the past 52 weeks.

On a more upbeat note, Microsoft is having a good showing today. Shares of the software giant are up 0.7%, boosted by Facebook's announcement of its new Graph Search feature. Facebook's latest innovation will integrate Microsoft's Bing search function, promising new revenue opportunities for both companies.

Google might still be smashing Bing -- and Microsoft's recent rollouts of products like Windows 8 and the Surface tablet have been less than extraordinary -- but it's nice to see the company still fighting to stay relevant despite the recent hits. The PC decline is hitting Microsoft hard, and the company will need to diversify into other areas if it wants to keep its place on the tech leaderboard.

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Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. 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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