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Major U.S. indexes traded mostly sideways today, after a week of mixed earnings reports and macroeconomic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) edged up just 3 points, or 0.03%, to close at 13,107 Friday afternoon.
Technology companies were some of the Dow's top performers on the day; Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) and International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM ) were two of the top five gainers in the index, rising nearly 1.2% and 0.9%, respectively, by the closing bell. Today saw the release of Microsoft's much-anticipated Windows 8 operating system and the new Surface tablet, which is a big step forward for a company that's been seen as largely behind the times with innovation for the past decade-plus.
Big Blue followed Microsoft's bullish charge into the weekend, as fellow tech monster Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) , the largest public company in the world, faltered, briefly trading under $600 in the wake of a disappointing earnings report yesterday.
The biggest macroeconomic news of the day was that US GDP growth rose to a 2% annual rate in the third quarter, up from 1.3% in the quarter prior. The 2% figure was higher than most expected, but also served as a reminder that growth continues to be anything but robust.
Outside the U.S., a story Friday by the Financial Times initially reported that the Switzerland-based banking giant UBS (NYSE: UBS ) would be cutting its workforce by as many as 10,000 people, or roughly one-sixth of its current headcount. The suspected cuts would mostly be in the investment bank's trading division, according to the report.
Hurricane Sandy remains a concern heading into the weekend. The massive storm is expected to ravage certain areas along the East Coast, and Wall Street, itself, could be subject to severe weather, as utility companies as far north as New Jersey brace for what has been termed "Frankenstorm."
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