Intel and Microsoft Electrify a Record-Setting Dow

Stocks are flying back up the charts today after yesterday's late gains, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is reaching for record levels. As of 2:15 p.m. EDT, the Dow has gained 85 points, or 0.58%, leaving it one point shy of 14,700. The index's earnings season is officially underway, and most stocks are in the green today. Let's get caught up on today's top movers.

Alcoa kicks off earnings, and tech rises
Aluminum producer Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) opened earning season with its quarterly report yesterday, but reactions were mixed over the company's so-so results. Alcoa topped analyst projections on earnings but missed on revenue expectations. Still, there were signs of hope for the company that point to a better future: While commodities prices remain under siege, Alcoa's volume gains in its downstream business and solid improvement in its top business units indicate improvement. If prices recover in the near future, this is one stock that will be ready to rise. For today, the stock is stuck at breakeven.

On the other side of the Dow, tech stocks are fueling the blue-chip index's rise. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) lead the Dow with respective gains of 3.2% and 3.3%. Intel has heated up interest recently with its plans for a new TV service that has earned rave reviews from many observers. While TV is a step in a new direction for this chip maker, it's the right time for Intel to branch out: With the PC market fading, Intel is in need of diversity.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has launched a new round of attacks against rival Google in its ongoing "Scroogled" ad campaign against the search engine giant. Microsoft's newest attack has focused on Google's collection of data on people who purchase Android applications on mobile devices. While Microsoft hopes to piggyback privacy concerns touted by activists, the company's own mobile plans have gotten off to a shaky start with the Surface tablet. The anti-Google ad campaign likely won't be enough to change that trend, considering that Android-powered devices dominate the mobile market.

Volatile Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) has also given the tech sector a boost, with shares rising 1.5%. HP announced lofty aims today for its Moonshot server system, boasting of reduced energy and space usage to handle mobile data, cloud services, and more. Increasing diversification into servers and other areas is a good move for HP, as the company's fortunes have plummeted along with the PC market. The stock has risen sharply this year as investors hope for a turnaround, and while HP is still far from being healthy, today's news might be a faint glimmer of hope that HP still has a future among the top tech leaders.

The right turnaround for your money?
The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including venerable technology names like Hewlett-Packard. However, HP is rapidly shifting its strategy under the leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one of the least appreciated turnaround stories on the market, or is 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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