The Dow Moved Higher on the Backs of These Stocks Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 21 points, or 0.14%, and now sits at 14,839. The S&P 500 once again set a new all-time high after it rose 3.95 points, or 0.25%, while the Nasdaq climbed 21 points, or 0.66%. But it wasn't an easy day for the Dow or the other major indexes. At one point this morning the Dow was down 84 points, while the S&P 500 was lower by 7 points and the Nasdaq had fallen 10 points. The moves lower were short-lived but were probably caused by investor fears of what the Federal Reserve, which began its two-day meeting this morning, may decide to do with long-term interest rates.

Big Dow winners
Shares of Verizon rose 0.84% this afternoon, which was a nice change of course after the stock fell 0.35% yesterday. My colleague Travis Hoium noted earlier today that one positive news story directly pertaining to Verizon was management's decision to install solar systems and fuel cells at 19 of the company's U.S. locations. Travis believes Verizon is beginning to see the value in this technology, especially after Hurricane Sandy knocked out so much power while Verizon's Garden City office on Long Island still had electricity because of its fuel cells at that location. The company will spend $100 million on this project, but that investment today could save the company many millions more in the long run.

Shareholders cheered after American Express announced that it's increasing its dividend by 15%. The previous quarterly dividend of $0.20 per share will now be $0.23, payable on Aug. 9 to shareholders on record as of July 5. Based on today's closing price of $68.41, American Express' dividend yield with the old dividend is 1.16%, but with the new payout it will increase to 1.34%. The last dividend increase was back on April 3, 2012, when the payout jumped from $0.18 per share to the current $0.20. Before that, American Express hadn't raised its dividend since early 2008. Shares rose 1.15% today on the news.

Shares of Microsoft also moved higher by 1.5% today. Bernstein Research released a report this morning saying the market has widely undervalued Microsoft's cloud computing unit. Microsoft executive Curt Anderson recently noted that the company's Azure cloud service has produced more than $1 billion in revenue annually. Bernstein believes the market had estimated much lower revenue from this division, and now that analysts have a more accurate and a likely higher number to go from, Microsoft's stock should receive more favorable ratings and price targets from Wall Street.

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft, our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends American Express and owns shares of Microsoft. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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