Why This Sector Is Surprisingly Leading the Dow

With no macroeconomic news out today, the markets have been flat throughout the trading session. As of 1:20 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up just 17 points, or 0.13%, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is down 0.18%.

The S&P 500 is down because of reports that Apple, its largest component, has significantly cut orders for parts for new iPhones, signaling a drop in demand. Apple's stock is down 3% on the news, and because Apple's massive market cap gives it a weighting of almost 4% of the S&P 500, the stock is pulling down the index with it. For a sense of scale, Exxon makes up roughly 3% of the S&P 500, and General Electric accounts for 1.7%.

Surprisingly, however, the tech sector is propping the Dow up today.

Today's Dow leader
Today's Dow leader is Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , up 3.5% to $16.74. Second for the Dow is Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) , up 1.6% to $20.82. The stocks are up on a report from Infiniti Research forecasting that the enterprise networking equipment market will grow at a rate of 3.6% for the next three years.

That would be good news for HP, which had a terrible 2012. The stock finished the year down 47% thanks to two $8 billion-plus writedowns, a declining market for PCs, and accusations of fraud against the former CEO of one of its acquisitions. The market may have pushed the stock down too far, for the company has rallied 17.5% in the new year and was the top gainer among Dow stocks last week.

This past weekend, Businessweek took an in-depth look at HP and discussed CEO Meg Whitman's odds of turning the flagging tech company around. You have to wonder whether HP is one of the least-appreciated turnaround stories on the market or if this a minor detour on its road to irrelevance. The Motley Fool's technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our new premium research report. Just click here now to get your copy today.


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