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Dow Watch: Microsoft, AmEx Keep Climbing

Microsoft and American Express are among the Dow stocks rising Friday.

Updated from 9:19 a.m. EDT

Nice Way to End the Week


At 11:40 a.m. EDT


About two hours in to the session and the


is near its session high, up more than 120 points at 8079. Of the 30 stocks, 22 were positive.

The best percentage gainer was

American Express


, surging 13.2% following its earnings and despite a

Moody's downgrade


Meanwhile, the worst stock was



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TheStreet Recommends

, down 2.5% at $3.12. According to

The New York Post


Vikram Pandit

might soon be looking for new employment. The stress tests may determine whether that ends up being the case.

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In case you missed it, Steve Ballmer, the head of



, made some comments in Germany about the state of the economy. Here's a sample: "We are planning essentially for the economy to contract. That may take two, three, four years, partly depending on government policy to ease some of the pain. Then we will see growth again."

He also said his company still isn't interested in reconsidering a bid for



, though the two sides might be able to create some kind of partnership. (

Read more on Ballmer's comments

.) Shares were up 8% recently thanks to last night's report.

Now the bigger picture. The level to watch is 8131.33. That's where the Dow ended last week. If you'll remember, the index has risen for six straight. Not sure we can make it seven, but this end-of-the-week rally we're seeing might make it close.

Finally, It's Friday


At 9:05 a.m. EDT



futures are ticking higher ahead of the final trading session of what has been a busy week on Wall Street.

Two industrials that reported their quarterly numbers after the last close,




American Express


, were on the rise, the software seller by 4.3% to $19.74 and the financial firm by 8.4% to $22.72.


discussed Thursday

, things weren't perfect, and year-over-year earnings declined at both, but

Microsoft matched estimates

and AmEx

surprised to the upside


The new day brought more numbers from a DJIA component, this time



. The company had first-quarter sales of $5.08 billion, down 21.3% from the prior year. Net income was cut nearly in half, and excluding items, 3M would have earned 81 cents a share. Double miss. Analysts were looking for a profit of 86 cents and revenue of $5.22 billion.

Looking forward, it lowered its full-year earnings range by 40 cents to $3.90 to $4.30 a share. While that's bad, the consensus currently stands at $4.01, so it's actually not too far off from the expectations. Still, shares of 3M are indicated lower.

Outside of quarterly reports, we're also awaiting some information on the government's bank stress tests a bit later. We're not going to know the results for a few more days, but we're at least supposed to get some details on the methodology used in the examinations.

Doesn't look to be too much worry so far.




Bank of America



JPMorgan Chase


were all trading higher in the premarket.