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The first quarter of 2014 sure has been different so far from the action investors experienced in 2013. The indices are set to deliver their poorest performance since the fourth quarter of 2012. Equities have managed, however, to bounce off their lows earlier this quarter and look like they will produce slightly positive returns in the quarter.
This back-and-forth action could continue in the second quarter as the market consolidates its huge gains from 2013. Investors are also in the midst of confirming that equities can still produce positive returns even as the Federal Reserve slowly pulls back on the amount of liquidity it is supplying.
Watching the market now is like looking at a calm lake. On the surface it is placid, but underneath there are competing currents moving to and fro. Finding and riding the right currents could be the key to outperforming the market in 2014. Not to be cliche, but it does appear we have a stock-pickers' market.
One thing I have noticed recently is that tech sector is doing well, especially in names most investors could easily associate with the bygone PC era. Microsoft (MSFT) crossed the $40-per-share level on Thursday for the first time since the Internet bust.
Investors like the new CEO's rumored decision to offer Office apps on iPads. This will require an Office 365 subscription and will help juice Microsoft efforts in the cloud where its offerings (Azure and Office 365) are already growing exponentially.