Even as other prominent benchmark indices suffered losses, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) remained resilient. Markets may have seen President Obama's press conference on the debt ceiling today as the beginning of another long, drawn-out political process that threatens to hurt the economy. Despite this apprehension, the Dow was able to rise 18 points, or 0.14% to close at 13,507.
A few of the best performers in the index today were tech companies. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) stood out, gaining nearly 5% after rumors started churning that its bitter rival Dell (NASDAQ: DELL ) may be taken private. Both companies are heavy hitters in the PC industry, one that's being transformed quickly as tablets and mobile devices continue to emerge and squeeze out more market share of their own. While a private Dell could benefit HP as Dell undergoes a transitional period with its business strategy, Wall Street thinks Dell may benefit in its own right, and its shares surged more than 13% today.
Another blue-chip tech company, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO ) , advanced more than 2.3%. The rise followed a report from a major research firm forecasting continued growth in the next three years for the enterprise equipment market. Cisco is huge in this segment, and HP diversified into the area in recent years as well, so investors are amply rewarding that foresight today.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) , Monday's worst Dow performer, fell more than 1.6% after UBS downgraded its stock. Citing lower profit expectations, UBS cut its rating from "buy" to "neutral" and its price target from $48 to $44. Verizon is one of only three Dow components that trade for less than they did at the start of 2013. Verizon has lost 1.6% in 2013, while the Dow boasts gains of 3.1% in the New Year.
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