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Why the Dow surged again… and what that means for the ASX

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied again for the second straight day overnight, helped up by more signals from Federal Reserve officials that interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future, as well as by positive rumours out of China.

Index

Change

Dow Jones Industrial Average 1.41%
Nasdaq 1.30%
S&P 500 1.38%

The Dow increased from the opening bell this morning, after rumours of better-than-expected first-quarter China GDP numbers due tonight. Those expected numbers have investors optimistic that the slowdown in China may not be as bad as expected. There was also some good news out of debt-plagued Europe as well, with yields on benchmark Italian and Spanish bonds dropping. Combining yesterday and today, the Dow’s two-day gain of 2.1% is its best all year, erasing more than half of its losses after five straight days of declines.

By far the biggest winner today on the Dow was Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) , up 7.2%. Research firms Gartner and IDC reported that global PC shipments rose by around 2% in the first quarter, which was slightly ahead of expectations. HP remained the world’s No. 1 PC maker by volume, with a worldwide market share of 17.2% (Gartner) to 18% (IDC). Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) was the third biggest PC maker in the U.S., with Dell taking the No. 2 spot. HP’s PC shipments grew faster than even Apple’s, and HP was more successful than other PC makers at getting its hands on hard drives, which were in short supply after the Thai floods.

Outside the Dow, tech giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) reported earnings after the bell today that beat expectations. The company posted earnings per share of $10.88, which topped analyst expectations of $9.66. Notably, Google CEO Larry Page also announced a “new class of non-voting capital stock,” which he said is “effectively a stock split.” U.S. paid clicks for the company was 39% higher than a year earlier, but the average cost that Google earned from advertisers decreased by 12% from a year prior.

Google’s solid earnings today are one example of why investors must keep close tabs on their favourite companies during earnings season.

The ASX SPI was up 0.6%, suggesting a positive start for our market.

If you are looking for ASX investing ideas, look no further than “The Motley Fool’s Top Stock for 2012.” In this free report, Investment Analyst Dean Morel names his top pick for 2012…and beyond. Click here now to find out the name of this small but growing telecommunications company. But hurry – the report is free for only a limited period of time.

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This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

A version of this article was originally published on fool.com

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