Microsoft's Bounce Headlines the Dow's Rebound

Microsoft's Bounce Headlines the Dow's Rebound

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The markets didn't impress anyone with their performance this morning, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average has bounced back nicely from earlier losses in the afternoon session. Microsoft's 2.9% surge has powered up the Dow's gains, leading the blue-chip index higher by around 50 points as of 2:15 p.m. EDT. Stocks overall are mixed fairly evenly between risers and laggards, but several big movers in the green and the red are making waves today. Let's catch up on all the stories and stocks you need to know from today's Dow.

Microsoft picks up steam, but is it a buy?
Microsoft's following up on yesterday's gains to take the lead in the Dow, thanks in large part to an upgrade from Evercore Partners today. The firm upgraded Microsoft's stock to "overweight" and raised its price target. Microsoft is one of tech's largest firms, but dangers still loom for this software giant -- thanks in large part to its hardware.

The company's had a tough time selling its Surface tablets, even after Japan's Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company yesterday purchased 30,000 of the devices for its sales personnel. Microsoft cut the Surface Pro's price by $100 recently to try to kick up demand, and earlier cut its price of its Surface RT tablet. Some redemption could be on the way later this year with the launch of the company's Xbox One entertainment console -- a device that previously generated significant controversy but has since sold out its preorders at numerous retailers -- but Microsoft will need to boost its meager mobile offerings if it wants to establish itself as a serious contender in the mobile hardware space for the long-term future.

American Express also is having a strong day, with the financial stock up more than 1.8%. Credit Wells Fargo for the lift, as the bank teamed up with the credit card company to begin marketing American Express' cards to its customers. Things have been looking up for American Express as consumer confidence has risen steadily in the U.S. The firm has worked to push banks into issuing its cards in recent years, and the partnership with Wells Fargo should pay off in the coming few years.

It's not such a good day for JPMorgan . The big bank's taken a tumble, with its stock down around 0.7% to rank among the Dow's biggest losers. The company's facing governmental investigations that are probing into its mortgage-backed bond sales in the years before the 2008 financial crisis.

It's the last thing JPMorgan needs, especially as it emerges from the shadow of the London Whale scandal that dominated headlines earlier this year. Fellow Dow bank Bank of America is facing its own hurdle in this area as the SEC and Department of Justice have accused it of defrauding customers through misleading statements about the quality of similar bonds. For the Dow's two big banks, it's looking like another round of judicial pain is on the way.

JPMorgan's and Bank of America's latest legal troubles are exemplary of just why many investors are terrified about investing in big banking stocks after the crash. Fortunately, the sector has one notable standout. In a sea of mismanaged and dangerous peers, it rises above the rest as "The Only Big Bank Built to Last." You can uncover the top pick that Warren Buffett loves in The Motley Fool's new report. It's free, so click here to access it now.

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Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends American Express, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and Wells Fargo. 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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