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Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) Leads the Dow in a Shaky Trading Session: Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), The Home Depot, Inc. (HD)

Today’s Dow leaders
Today’s Dow leader is Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), up 2.7%. Earlier today Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) announced in a press release a new analytics and information-management service to help clients gain value from big data. Big data has been a hot topic the past few years as cheap computing power and memory allow companies to collect more data than ever before. The easy part is collecting the data; the hard part is doing something useful with it. The “Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) Big Data Discovery Experience” aims to enable clients to unlock the value of their data and should provide a growth opportunity for HP going forward.

Furthermore, a Morgan Stanley analyst upgraded Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) from hold to buy, citing the company’s renewed focus on free cash flow. CEO Meg Whitman is trying to turn around Hewlett-Packard and return value to shareholders. The analyst believes the focus on free cash flow will free up cash to return to investors more quickly than previously anticipated. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) currently yields 2.4% and is a member of the 2013 Dogs of the Dow. Increased dividends would be welcomed by shareholders.

Second for the day is Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) , up 1.5%. Citigroup analyst Michael Rollins upgraded Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) from hold to buy on renewed speculation that Verizon will buy out Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD)‘s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Wireless is a strong business, and Vodafone’s stake won’t go cheaply. Dividends from Verizon Wireless currently make up the majority of Verizon’s earnings and give Vodafone shares a hefty special dividend each year. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) will have to take on a significant amount of debt to pull off such a buyout, and if that happens, investors should be wary. In the meantime, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) sports a 4.3% yield and is also a member of the 2013 Dogs of the Dow.

Third for the day is The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD), up 1%. Last week’s retail sales numbers showed rising consumer spending on home improvement. Given the negative homebuilder confidence numbers, it’s a bit of a surprise that Home Depot is up, but with the overall level of homebuilding and home improvement activity higher than last year, The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) is set to do well.

The article HP Leads the Dow in a Shaky Trading Session originally appeared on and is written by Dan Dzombak.

Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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