The PC Is Dying, but the Dow Is Flying

Another day, another intraday record for stock markets. Late in trading, the Dow Jones IndustrialAverage is up 0.4%, while the S&P 500 has risen 0.35%, continuing a bullish run for stocks. The Department of Labor said today that new jobless claims fell 42,000 to 346,000 last week, and with little else to focus on, the market decided that was enough to bid stocks higher.

Pfizer's 2.4% jump has led the Dow today. U.S. regulators have classified cancer treatment palbociclib as a breakthrough therapy, which should speed up its approval process. The pill is in late-stage testing as an early treatment for postmenopausal women with breast cancer. There hasn't been a lot of good news for pharmaceutical companies lately, so the market is latching on to this and running with it.

On the downside, the PC sector took a huge hit yesterday when IDC said PC sales fell 13.9% in the first quarter. This has pushed shares of Microsoft and Intel down 5% and 2%, respectively. Investors were clinging to hope that PC sales would stabilize while Microsoft and Intel prepared for their mobile futures, but that doesn't appear to be the case. According to IDC analyst Jay Chou, corporate buyers are putting off PC purchases because computers are lasting longer and users want to avoid updating to Windows 8.

There's really no positive way to spin this, and investors need to start thinking about bailing on the PC if they haven't already. Both Microsoft and Intel have other businesses, but the PC is still at their core, and that's why their stocks are down so much today.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Microsoft and Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel 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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