3 Stocks Driving Stock Markets to New Highs

Another week, another record close for stock markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.56% on steady gains this week, and the S&P 500 moved 2.07% higher. A 1% drop in household debt released on Tuesday and a strong consumer confidence reading on Friday had the greatest impact on the markets.

Leading both the Dow and the S&P 500 this week was tech giant Cisco , which jumped an amazing 14.9%. The company reported fiscal third-quarter earnings, and revenue was up 5.4% to $12.22 million, while adjusted earnings per share were $0.51, both ahead of estimates. There's been a lot of concern that IT spending will fall in 2013, and investors have set the bar very low for Cisco recently. This week's results show that the company is still performing well and provides a good value for investors.  

Microsoft was the second biggest winner on the Dow this week, climbing 7.4%. IDC released a first-quarter smartphone market share report showing that Windows Phone jumped BlackBerry OS into third place, behind Android and iOS. Shipments were up 133% to 7.0 million, incredible growth for Microsoft. The company also said that an update to Windows 8 code, named Blue, will be free to customers. We won't get a preview until June, but investors are excited that users will have some of their early concerns addressed in a free upgrade.  


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 a new premium report on Microsoft, a Motley Fool analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, so are the challenges. The report includes regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

JPMorgan Chase rounds out the top three Dow stocks after a 6.8% gain this week. Early this week, hedge fund manager David Tepper sent banking stocks higher when he said he sees a very bullish case for the stock market. He also said he owns shares of Citigroup, Bank of America, and JPMorgan, so the whole banking sector shot higher. As the week moved on, investors began to bet that Jamie Dimon wouldn't have his roles as CEO and chairman split in a shareholder vote next week. One of T. Rowe Price Associates' largest stock funds said it will vote against the proposal, and other funds in the family may follow suit.

The market may want Dimon to keep both jobs, but it's always good to have checks and balances in a company. The board of directors is meant to watch over the company's direction and keep an eye on the management team, something that's hard to do when one person is the CEO and head of the board. Next Tuesday we'll find out if Dimon will keep both roles, but this Fool thinks all companies should split the roles into two jobs.

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 a new premium report on Microsoft, a Motley Fool analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, so are the challenges. The report includes regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

The article 3 Stocks Driving Stock Markets to New Highs originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems and owns shares of Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Microsoft. 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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