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The Dow's Cautious Approach to the Weekend

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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."

The technology industry is viciously competitive, and with disruptive new devices at the forefront, the stakes are high and the opportunity is huge, especially for an innovative leader like Apple. To help investors understand the company, we've just released an exclusive update with details on recent product launches. By picking up a copy of our premium research report on Apple, you'll learn everything you need to know about the business, and receive ongoing guidance as key news hits. Claim your copy today by clicking here now.

John Divine owns shares of Apple. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, International Business Machines, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, International Business Machines, and Microsoft. 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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NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

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