Dow Continues Its Climb, With Boost From Tech Sector

The tone has been set for a week of heavy economic data releases, with news this morning reviving some spirits and sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average 64 points higher so far this morning. With news from Europe that a long-standing problem has been resolved, and new data showing that an integral part of the U.S. economy is still forging ahead, the index may be set for further gains this afternoon. Not to mention the solid gains by the Dow's tech stock components this morning, which have helped boost the index even further.

Good news comes in threes
Italy has finally resolved its governmental stalemate, with the swearing-in of a new prime minister and supporting government. The last two months within the government were troubling for the European Union, which feared that a nonoperational government would lead to further financial troubles within the country. Those fears spread to the U.S., with investors aware that the global economy is still on weak footing.

Pending sales for existing homes rose in the month of March, giving more backing to the continued rise of the housing market. With the 1.5% increase last month, the rate of pending home sales is at a three-year high. With home values continuing to rise, more people may be enticed to put their houses on the market, which will relieve a tightening supply of existing homes as demand rises largely due to the historically low interest rates.

New data from the Commerce Department showed that personal income rose 0.2%, which correlated to a 0.2% rise in consumer spending last month. With consumer spending on trend to grow, the economy has a better chance of a swifter recovery -- though there's no saying what other influences will come along.

Tech is on the move
Leading the way this morning is Microsoft, with a 1.95% gain as of 11 a.m. EDT. Mr. Softy is taking its design of the next generation of Xboxes seriously. With a newly revealed projector called IllumiRoom, Microsoft envisions an added feature to the new console that will project a field of vision around the television screen to enhance playing and allow gamers to develop code to modify their gaming experience. The newest version of the Xbox will be revealed next month, with many gamers and investors looking forward to the newest developments.

IBM is in a close second to Microsoft with a 1.81% rise this morning. The company is currently hosting the 2013 IBM Impact conference in Las Vegas, scheduled to run through May 2, with plenty of new developments being demonstrated via partnerships. First up is Neebula, which is scheduled to demonstrate the benefits of integration with IBM's Tivoli Service Management Software. The partnership allows customers to quickly and easily view the impacts of common IT incident reporting and alerts. But perhaps the most exciting for customers is the partnership between IBM and CEDRUS, which announced the new DreamFace for IBM BPM application. The new software will allow customers to develop rich user interfaces for browsers and mobile devices directly into the browsers -- no code, and cloud-based.

Intel is also in the news this morning, with a 1.18% gain following the confirmation that its new Haswell processors will be featured in the newest line of Apple MacBook Pro laptops. The new line will be presented at Apple's WWDC conference next month. Intel also plans on launching the Haswell line of processors during the Computex IT show in June. This gives the chip maker and its partners plenty of time to update new products with the processors before the back-to-school push begins in late summer.

There's no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.

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