These 3 Tech Stocks Are Leading the Dow's Rally Today

Despite no real news on the fiscal cliff, technology stocks are rallying the Dow. At the halfway point of the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up 24 points, or 0.18%, to 13,179. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is up just more than a point.

Investors continue to be fixated on the fiscal cliff. Over the weekend, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met to discuss the fiscal cliff. Neither side gave any details on Sunday's talks, leaving investors to sit and wait. The Motley Fool has created a special page that will be updated with all of our latest fiscal-cliff coverage in order to cut through the daily noise and give you the information and analysis you need as an investor. Head on over for everything you need to know about fiscal cliff 2012.

With no news on the fiscal-cliff negotiations, it's no surprise that the market is relatively unchanged. Some stocks are trying to get the Dow to finish higher, here are today's leaders.

Today's Dow leaders
Today's Dow leader is Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) up 2.5% to $14.16 on rumors that noted activist investor Carl Icahn has taken a stake in the floundering tech company. HP has been a stunning example of mismanagement over the past few years. A boardroom scandal, two terrible acquisitions, and accusations of fraud against the former CEO of one of its acquisitions have all combined to push the stock down 73% over the past five years. Icahn has a track record of shaking things up at struggling companies. If Icahn has in fact taken a stake, hopefully HP management will listen to his input and not waste more shareholder money on a "shareholder rights plan" (a.k.a. a "poison pill") to protect their jobs. While some are calling for drastic action, drastic action is what got HP into this mess. HP needs to batten down the hatches and execute on its business. Carl Icahn isn't the only investor who (potentially) sees value in HP: Other investors see HP as a steal at this price.

Second for the day is Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) , up 2.3% to $19.77. Last Friday Cisco held its annual analyst day, where it laid out its growth strategy and issued positive forward guidance of 5% to 7% long-term growth. The networking company has had a banner year after a poor 2011, and the stock's 9% rise and 40% dividend increase so far this year reflect that. Cisco's growth strategy as a serial acquirer was displayed in November as the company made three acquisitions during the month for a total of 10 acquisitions in 2012. Fool analyst Tim Beyers recently spelled out the key areas Cisco investors need to watch. Click here for his take.

Third for the day is Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) , up 1.3% to $26.81. Last month the tech giant launched Windows 8 and the Surface tablet. Initial sales have been weaker than expected, and many investors are losing confidence in Microsoft's future. However, Fool analyst Travis Hoium thinks investors shouldn't count Microsoft out yet.

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who have watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, 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 be sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

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