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Tech Woes Are Keeping the Dow Flat

It's not shaping up to be a good ending for the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (INDEX: ^DJI  ) bad week. Despite good news out of the economy released this morning, the Dow traded in the red for most of the day, and as of 1:45 p.m. EDT it has squeaked out a mere five-point gain. One major tech disappointment weighed heavily on stocks today, and the majority of the index's stocks are negative for the day. Unfortunately for investors, it looks like Wall Street may just have to wait until next week to try for any market gains.

Tech dropping off
The release of two great economic reports today should have boosted the Dow. First, the much-awaited report on U.S. GDP showed better-than-expected growth. Total GDP rose at a rate of 2% for the past quarter, edging out estimates. Consumer sentiment also increased, jumping to its highest level since 2007 as Americans grew more confident about the rebound of the economy. Despite these factors, the Dow still couldn't help but follow the downward trend of a particular non-Dow stock.

Tech icon Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) missed on its quarterly earnings report, sending shares of the world's largest company by market cap below the $600 per-share mark and taking the entire tech-heavy Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC  ) with it. The index has fallen 0.6% so far on the day.

Meanwhile, Apple competitor Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , coming off the release of its Windows 8 operating system, has posted gains of 0.3% so far today. Bubbling optimism surrounding Windows 8 and the release of the company's Surface tablet have driven up confidence in Microsoft's ability to compete with juggernaut Apple. Tech stocks on the Dow have done well in comparison to the Nasdaq overall, with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) , one of the makers of chips for the Surface, leading all Dow risers higher with a 1% gain so far.

Lots of red on the Dow
A few notable losers have pushed the Dow lower as Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) leads all Dow laggards downward, with shares dropping 0.9% so far. The home improvement retailer didn't see any gain despite hopes that consumers would flood the stores on fears of damages wrought by Hurricane Sandy hitting the Atlantic Seaboard.

Financial firms have also taken their toll on the Dow. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) have lost 1% and 0.9%, respectively. The ongoing LIBOR scandal investigation is impacting banks, and ever-present European fears certainly haven't helped their fortunes.

Today's gains for Microsoft follow a frustrating period for investors, who've watched their company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft, our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

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