After a dismal start to the day, the stock market looked like it might manage to recover from a much-anticipated decline after last night's embarrassing rogue-trading disclosure from JPMorgan Chase tossed a monkey wrench into investor confidence. But even as consumer-sentiment figures rose to levels not seen since before the financial crisis, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) gave back the ground it had gained in the late morning, and by the close, the index finished down about a quarter-percent, ending another dismal week on a sour note.
But amid the market's bad mood, a few pockets of strength clearly stood out. One group of winners came from the old-tech realm, as both Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) posted gains of about 1.4%. Microsoft may have benefited from reports that buyers of PCs after June 2 will be eligible to upgrade to the software giant's new Windows 8 operating system at a discount. It's always a challenge to keep sales going right before a hot new product comes out, but the company apparently decided its past strategy of giving free upgrades was leaving money on the table.
As for Intel, the semiconductor pioneer had its analyst day yesterday, and today was a chance for those analysts to speak out. Although Intel pitched its ability to stay competitive even in the rapidly evolving world of computers and mobile devices, the same enterprise headwinds that smacked Cisco shares yesterday could hold down Intel's growth as well -- at least in the short run.
The other big winners of the day were telecom stocks AT&T (NYSE: T ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) , both climbing around a percent and a half after Credit Suisse upgraded their stocks. AT&T was the subject of speculation that it could buy Leap Wireless, whose shares jumped almost 8% on the day on reports that AT&T had looked into a possible deal in recent months. For Verizon, the boost came as it announced more details on its plan to upgrade its optical network to improve communications quality and efficiency. As the pace of technology advances, it's clear there's more than enough room for both Verizon and AT&T to thrive in the huge and growing tech market.
See you next week
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