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The markets, after losing ground early in the day, quickly rebounded from morning lows, to lead indexes to positive ground in the afternoon. The European Central Bank's gloomy forecast of negative growth in the coming year depressed prices, but securities rebounded just hours later, encouraged by a surge in shares of the world's largest company. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) ended up more than 39 points, or 0.3%, to close at 13,074.
Chip maker Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) was the top gainer in the Dow, just a day after having the weakest showing in the index. Investors have been anxious over the upcoming retirement of CEO Paul Otellini, generally panning his departure. The 1.5% correction today may be a recognition of overdone fears about the transition.
Major technology companies were the flavor of the day in the Dow and the wider markets, with Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO ) sharing in the rise, gaining 1.4%. With net income growing near a 20% year-over-year clip, and recent strategic acquisitions being cheered by shareholders, Cisco is up more than 9% year to date and looks to have momentum going into the new year.
AT&T (NYSE: T ) fell today after an announced partnership with Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM ) . The multi-year contract was for an undisclosed sum, and allows Akamai to sell and manage AT&T's business services jointly with the service provider. Akamai shares popped 10% today on the news.
The technology sector -- and the market's comeback today, in general -- may owe thanks largely to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) . In an up-and-down day, shares finally ended up on top, adding more than 1.5%, to end a recent skid of bad showings on Wall Street. Apple was brutally hit yesterday, when investors worried that its mobile prospects in China were slipping. China Mobile's (NYSE: CHL ) CEO indicated that the iPhone would not be provided on the 700-million person network until better terms (for China Mobile) could be reached.
Coincidentally (or not), Apple announced today that it would bring back $100 million of manufacturing to the U.S. from China, as shares corrected from yesterday's precipitous 6.4% drop.
There's no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. Senior Motley Fool technology analyst Eric Bleeker is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy, and reasons to sell, Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and more importantly, your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.