Earnings season began last night with first-quarter results from aluminum maker Alcoa. Profit was slightly ahead of estimates, but revenue was a little bit disappointing, so its stock is flat today. But the rest of the market is looking past Alcoa's ho-hum quarter and surging higher today, driven by tech. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is up 0.59% near the end of trading, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) has risen 0.58%.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) stock is the biggest mover on the Dow today, climbing 4%. The company is teaming up with Nokia, Oracle, and a number of other tech companies to put pressure on the EU to take action against Google search and Android. They contend that Google's open-source software gives the company an unfair advantage over companies that charge for operating systems and diverts mobile search traffic to Google. This is a strong coalition, and investors are giving Microsoft a chance at breaking Android's hold on the mobile market and making extra market share for Windows Mobile and Bing. Only time will tell whether the complaint is successful. If it is, it could be a big catalyst for Microsoft stock.
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Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) is up 3.5% today after introducing a faster version of Thunderbolt yesterday and a new HP server today. The new Thunderbolt standard will have 20 Gbs bidirectional data transfer and twice the current capacity, and it's coming later this year. This would upend USB 3.0, which is expected to be capable of only 10 Gbs data transfer next year. HP also introduced its Moonshot server system, which will run on Intel's mobile chips. This is expected to save space and reduce energy costs by up to 89%.
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) is one of only five Dow components in the red today, falling 0.4%. There are reports out of China that McDonald's slashed the price of McNuggets nearly in half after the latest avian flu scare. This could impact McDonald's sales and profit in the second quarter but won't impact first-quarter earnings due April 19.