The Dow Hits Another High Note

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 Dow Jones Industrial Average made it three in a row today, gaining more than 100 points for the third consecutive session, rising 136 points, or 0.9%. The market seemed encouraged once again by easing tensions in Syria as President Obama last night said he would move forward with a Russian plan to try to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control, a move that could avert a U.S. military intervention. Elsewhere, a report showed a 13.5% drop in mortgage applications last week, indicating a possible slowdown in the housing market. However, homebuilder stocks moved up as the 10-year Treasury yield eased away from 3%.

IBM was a big factor in the Dow's gain as the blue chips' biggest component moved up 2.2% after it agreed to sell its customer-care outsourcing business to Synnex for $505 million, $430 million of which will be in cash and $75 million in stock. The sale is part of IBM's plan to rid itself of lower-margin businesses so it can focus on driving growth in more profitable segments to grow EPS to $20 per share by 2015, up all the way from $15.25 last year. While investors may be cheering that strategy, the sale itself will do little to move the bottom line for a company worth more than $200 billion.

A day after its iPhone release was greeted with mostly shrugs, Apple shares tumbled 5.4% as it received downgrades from Credit Suisse, Bank of America and UBS from buy to neutral. The market seemed disappointed not only in the higher-than-expected price point for the iPhone 5C, which analysts had hoped would serve as an entry-level smartphone for emerging markets, but also by the absence of a China Mobile deal. The latter, though, appears to be imminent, which would probably be Apple's quickest road to higher profits.

Intel stock was headed in a similar direction, falling 0.8%, despite inking a deal with Google to provide its new Haswell chips for the search giant's Chromebooks. Even with the deal, investors seem to be betting that the chipmaker will have difficulty getting over the decline in PCs as Intel has struggled to get back to its 2012 heights. Seeing Apple flail after its latest release is only a reminder that the fortunes of tech companies are particularly fleeting.

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Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Bank of America, Google, and Intel. It owns shares of Apple, Bank of America, China Mobile, Google, Intel, and International Business Machines. 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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