How Hewlett-Packard Sent the Dow Flying


The tug of war between global economic stress and investor confidence continued today, and bulls can chalk today up in the win column as the markets overcame their usual impulse to sell into what could be an interesting weekend in Europe. Instead, by the close, the Dow Jones Industrials finished up 91 points, almost getting back to break-even for the week. Even as the Cypriot banking system teeters on the verge of collapse, investors seem not to have the fear they once would have had, even with minor European financial issues.

Hewlett-Packard led all Dow stocks higher, rising more than 3%. The company didn't have any major announcements today, but it's entirely possible that the shares continued to run higher in a relief rally after HP's board survived an unusually contentious annual meeting. It included director elections, for which a couple of major proxy advisory firms recommended voting against incumbent candidates as a protest against the bungled Autonomy acquisition. A 10% dividend increase rewarded investors, but HP investors should be concerned that the company seems not to trust itself to invest its cash more profitably in an attempt to boost its growth going forward.

Grocery-store operator SUPERVALU climbed almost 6% in the aftermath of its having completed the sale of Albertsons, Star Market, Shaw's, Acme, and Jewel-Osco grocery chains earlier this week. This morning, the slimmed-down company named several new executives to take roles within SUPERVALU's various divisions and departments. How SUPERVALU will move forward from here is still uncertain, but the company remains a major grocery retailer even after the sales.

Finally, Nordic American Tankers rose almost 5%. Even given the glut in ships throughout both the dry-bulk and the tanker-shipping industries, Nordic American acquired its 21st vessel earlier this week. The company also filed a mixed shelf offering with the SEC yesterday, which will give Nordic American a lot more flexibility going forward to take advantage of potential bargain opportunities as the industry consolidates.

In evaluating HP, it's essentially to look closely at the company's rapid shift in its strategy under the new leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one of the least-appreciated turnaround stories on the market, or is this a minor blip on its road to irrelevance? The Motley Fool's technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our new premium research report. Just click here now to get your copy today.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Supervalu. 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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