2 Stocks Launching the Dow Higher

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Another week in the books and 2012's hot start is showing little signs of cooling. With fourth-quarter earnings coming out along with some key economic numbers, most notably inflation, the indices performed well for the week, and nearly all closed up on this final trading day.

But before we jump into the day's events, let's cover how the three largest indices fared yesterday.

Top of Form

IndexBottom of Form

Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) 96.500.76%12,720.48
Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) (1.63)(0.06%)2,786.70
S&P 5000.880.07%1,315.38

As you can see, yesterday was a decent day on the market, two of three major indices continuing their northward trek, and notably the S&P 500 staying above 1,300, putting both it and the Dow near mid-summer highs. The Nasdaq was our only down performer of the day, snapping its three-session win streak over the other two indices. However, the big story was clearly the Dow, as it gained nearly one hundred points on a day where the other two indices essentially treaded water.

What was the Dow's secret? Tech earnings.

Yes, in a week all but dominated by the financial sector's fourth-quarter earnings and macro news, like a potential QE3 Federal Reserve program raising the sector's fortunes (especially the fortunes of investors in the Direxion Financial Bull 3X (NYS: FAS) levered ETF, which added nearly 7% in four days), it was the tech components making the biggest splash.

While tech giant Google missed badly on both revenue and earnings estimates, it isn't a Dow component, and three major tech companies that are killed it. IBM (NYS: IBM) , delivered excellent results and raised this year's guidance. Since the company accounts for a whopping 11% of the Dow, its impressive 4.4% gain had an outsize effect on the index. Not to be outdone, Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) piled 5.7%, creating a new 52-week high, beating analysts while showing slimming losses from its online division. As fellow Fool Dan Caplinger noted, with "the company's partnership with Nokia finally beginning to bear fruit, stock-watchers should start looking forward to the impact that Windows 8 could have on the software giant."

Stay tuned to The Fool for more analysis on recent earnings and general market movements throughout the weekend.

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At the time this article was published David Williamsonholds no position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Google, and International Business Machines.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Google and Microsoft.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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