Markets Pop as Bernanke Preaches


This morning, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified in front of Congress on the health of the economy and the future plans of the Fed. And, in short, investors liked what they heard. At one point during his speech, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 150 points, but as of 12:55 p.m. EDT the index is up 93 points, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 is up 0.57%, while the Nasdaq has risen 0.32%.

After both the Dow and the S&P 500 set new record closing prices yesterday, they seem poised to do it again today. And even though the Dow has given back some of its earlier gains, only three of its 30 components are trading in the red today. Microsoft and Cisco are among the losers this afternoon.

As my Foolish colleague discussed this morning, on May 22, 1990, Microsoft seized controlled of the PC industry. Well, on May 22, 2013, it seems the company is fighting to seize control of the gaming industry. Microsoft's Xbox gaming console is in a grueling battle with Sony's PlayStation and other devices that allow users not only to play video games but also to stream video content and surf the Internet. After the poor Windows 8 release back in the fall, the company and its shareholders both need a big win. But today investors don't seem to have the confidence they once had in the company: Microsoft shares have fallen 0.4%.

After Monday and Tuesday's gains piled onto last week's enormous 14.9% move higher, Cisco is finally pulling back a little, down 0.7% at the time of writing. The massive run-up in the share price may have investors cashing in today. But another reason for the stock's drop may be a report by an analyst at Zacks, who believes declining IT spending and the growth prospects of EMC could pose a major threat to some of Cisco's businesses and relationships with other companies.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool 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 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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