Not only did the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) set a new intraday record today, but it ended at all-time highs and two-thirds of its components closed in the black. Paradoxically, expectations for low growth this earnings season may be aiding the market's gravity-defying run. Potentially easy-to-beat low expectations combined with some product-driven rallies helped the Dow add about 60 points, or 0.4%, to close at 14,673.
Technology in particular showed up today, ending as the second-hottest major sector. Leading the charge in blue chips, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) surged 3.6% on excitement about its new Xbox model. Word has it the company will showcase the upcoming console at an event next month, where price points (there could be two versions) and product specs will be revealed.
Shares of chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) rose in connection with the new console as well. Shares rocketed more than 13% higher yesterday when word broke that AMD will provide the processor for the next Xbox, and investors continued to bid the stock 1.5% higher today. Microsoft is hoping the console catches on as a versatile, all-in-one entertainment device. If it can pull that off, both AMD and Microsoft stand to benefit from its ubiquity.
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) shares continued a rally that began late Monday after details broke on its new Thunderbolt port for Macs. Enabling major advances in graphical content and transfer speeds, the Thunderbolt reportedly supports data transfers of up to 20 gigabits per second. Though major production isn't expected until 2014, a product demonstration yesterday got Wall Street antsy. Shares rose 3.1% today.
Of course, the Dow still had a handful of laggards, and Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) ended as the index's worst performer, down 0.7%. P&G's slip wasn't predicated by much substance. The stock mostly suffered with the rest of the consumer goods sector, which, next to utilities, suffered the poorest showing Tuesday.
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