The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 48 points yesterday and ended the session at 14,613, within striking distance again of its all-time high, as Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) kicked off the official start of the earnings season and beat analyst expectations. Despite weaker revenues, profits surged 59%, but with the aluminum sector still uncertain, whether the progress signals a turnaround still to come remains to be seen.
The two following stocks did better than either the Dow or the aluminum producer, both rising by double-digit percentages, but you should still resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you. Smart investors won’t celebrate until they know why their stock surged, because without a fundamental basis for the bounce, these stocks could just as quickly make the return trip down.
Going in reverse
Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) apparently is getting a big vote of confidence from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) after Bloomberg reported that it will use the chipmaker’s processors in its next generation of Xbox game consoles. That would be a huge deal, considering AMD’s chips will also be appearing in Sony‘s new PlayStation console.
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) had previously provided the chip architecture for the Xbox, so this land grab comes at a crucial juncture for the chipmakers. The PC is dying a slow, painful death, and despite the weakness in the video-game market as developers move on to mobile platforms, the console remains an important growth outlet and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD)’s new apparent dominance breathes new life into it.
One hitch, however, as TechCrunch notes, is that the new architecture probably renders Xbox 360 games unusable on the new console. Although that could spur a new round of game and console buying, it also might create significant backlash, as backwards compatibility is always a sought-after feature. Regardless, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) will be savoring this finger in the eye to its chief rival for some time to come.
Hanging up on mobile growth
If there’s been one stock suffering from a bout of manic investor behavior, it’s Internet security specialist VirnetX Holding Corporation (NYSEAMEX:VHC), which has found its stock bouncing all over the market. Following a patent infringement win over Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) late last year, shares soared, only to crash miserably after losing a similar case to Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), with its shares losing nearly a quarter their value. It was as if all the wheels had fallen off the gravy train it was riding to collecting royalties on its wireless patents.