Tech Stocks Lead the Dow Higher

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Technology stocks are leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher today, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has more than doubled the Dow's gains. As of 1:15 p.m. EDT the Dow is up 0.35%, while the Nasdaq is up 0.95% and the S&P 500 is up 0.64%.

There were no U.S. economic releases today, but Home Depot reported expectation-beating earnings and raised its guidance for the year -- a positive sign of continued strength in the housing market. Home Depot reported earnings of $1.24 per share, beating analyst expectations of $1.21 as well as the year-ago EPS of $1.01. Revenue rose 9.5% to $22.5 billion versus a consensus estimate of $21.8 billion. Home Depot also raised its guidance for the full year, calling for earnings of $3.60, up from $3.52, and revenue growth of 4% to 5%.

Given the earnings beat, you might expect Home Depot to be today's top Dow stock, but the company's shares are actually hanging just above breakeven while technology stocks lead the way. Yesterday Intel was the Dow's top stock, and its Dow-leading performance continues today with an additional 1.3% gain. There's no news today, so it seems the stock is still feeling the effects of an analyst upgrade. Piper Jaffray's Gus Richard upgraded the stock from "sell" to "netural" and raised his price target to $22. The analyst believes Intel's mobile processors will make a dent in the mobile and tablet markets. Further, he thinks Microsoft's curtailing of support for Windows XP will lead companies to upgrade to Windows 8, which is supported by Intel processors.

Speaking of Microsoft, the stock is also making headway, up 0.8%. Microsoft announced on its blog this morning the nearly two dozen titles that will be released at the same time as the new Xbox One. However, Microsoft has not yet announced the Xbox One's launch date. I doubt this information is moving Microsoft today, though, and the stock is up with the broader technology sector.

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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 and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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