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Buoyed by news that a budget deal has been brokered by European Union leaders, stocks logged modest gains today. News that the U.S. trade deficit shrank in December also brought some optimism, as it may mean that the 0.1% fourth quarter contraction in GDP was overly negative and will be revised upwards. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) , despite gaining 48 points, or 0.35% -- ending at 13,992 -- was unable to break even on the week, falling 0.1%.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) was the top gainer in the Dow today, gaining 2.5%. The company announced that it would be instituting a more stringent set of qualifications for its Chinese suppliers, requiring better treatment of workers. However, a much-discussed possible breakup of HP may actually be what's rallying the stock.
On the losing side, Boeing (NYSE: BA ) led the blue chip index's laggards, falling 1.1%, after telling some of its customers that 787 Dreamliner deliveries will be delayed. Despite the fact that management has downplayed the recent safety investigations into its new airliner by de-emphasizing the effects they will have on its operations, it appears that the Dreamliner nightmare is material, after all.
Outside of the Dow, Seagate Technology (NASDAQ: STX ) continued with its bullish 2013, adding 2.1% today. Even after the 16.6% gains the stock has posted this year, Seagate still pays an impressive 4.4% dividend. The data storage devices company didn't have a solid reason for its jump today, but momentum counts for a lot, and that's one thing Seagate has in spades.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) rallied for a second straight day, gaining 1.4%, in anticipation of further moves that will return cash to investors. Apple directly acknowledged a lawsuit filed by hedge fund manager and Apple shareholder David Einhorn yesterday, but has so far maintained its stance of not issuing preferred stock without shareholder approval.
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. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, 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.