Technology Stocks Move Higher, Dow Heads in Opposite Direction


On a day when the markets received some poor economic data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 42 points, or 0.28%, and now rests at 15,233. The S&P 500 performed much worse, losing 0.5%, while the Nasdaq lost 0.18% during today's regular trading session.

The two main factors pulling the stock lower today were the higher-than-expected jobless claims report, and the lower-than-expected number of housing starts. Jobless claims hit 360,000 last week, which is a six-week high, and much higher than the expected 330,000 claims that economists believed they would see. Additionally, most experts thought housing starts would fall to 970,000, not 853,000, which is where the seasonally adjusted numbers came in.

But, although housing wasn't having a good day, a few Dow technology stocks were.

Shares of Cisco were on fire today, as they rose higher by 12.62%. The company reported earnings yesterday after the closing bell; revenue of $12.2 billion, and earnings per share of $0.51 both beat analysts' estimates. Cisco posted a top- and bottom-line beat; but that doesn't fully explain the large increase in share price. What does explain it, however, is that the company is performing exceptionally well in developing nations and here at home. During a time of slow economic growth around the world, Cisco can still grow at a healthy pace, and investors see this is a positive.

Microsoft was up by 0.69% today after the research firm IDC reported that the Windows Mobile Operating system has taken the third place from Blackberry. IDC said Windows devices made up 3.2% of all smartphones shipped during the first quarter, while Blackberry controlled only 2.9%. While investors should be excited about this news, it's just one quarter, and Blackberry did release two new devices and their new operating system during the latter part of the quarter.

Shares of IBM were up by 0.67% today. The likely catalyst for the increase came from the Berkshire-Hathaway 13F filing, which disclosed that Warren Buffet's company had purchased additional shares of the technology company. Buffet and his team added 6.5 million shares of IBM to their portfolio, indicating that the greatest investor of all time still believes in the company, even though it may be moving more into cloud computing.

Hewlett-Packard ended the day as the second best-performing Dow component after gaining 1.86%. Reviews about the company's newest line of tablet laptops are very good, and the likely reason for the stock's move today. While most companies in the tablet market sell their keyboards separately, HP is opting to sell both elements together. This may end up being a great move for HP, and really help it gain market share in an industry that left the company for dead.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines. and Microsoft. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513. 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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