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U.S. stock markets struggled along this week without much of a catalyst to get traders bidding shares higher or lower. Economic data showed more weakness in housing, new jobless claims remaining low, and a small rise in leading indicators -- a mixed bag for investors. By the end of the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was trading 0.47% lower and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) was up just 0.46%.
Microsoft was the clear winner this week, after a 7.3% pop yesterday. For the week, the stock was up a whopping 9.3%, driven by the announced retirement of CEO Steve Ballmer. His tenure will probably be remembered as unsuccessful because the stock price was down during the 13 years since he took over, but some perspective is needed when grading Ballmer as CEO. He took over at the peak of the Internet bubble, returned some $200 billion to shareholders, and tripled revenue during his tenure.
Most CEOs would consider that a success, but living in the shadows of Steve Jobs, the Google guys, and others in tech has hindered investors' view of his success -- hence the pop when he said he was retiring.
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) moved 2.4% higher this week, after Digitimes reported that new tablet and smartphone platforms will be launched later this year. The 14nm Cherry Trail will reportedly launch in the third quarter, with a 14nm Willow Trail chip in the fourth quarter. These product launches are key to Intel's mobile plans, which is needed for growth. If Intel gets this right, its 12 P/E ratio and 4.1% dividend yield will look like a great value for investors.
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) rounds out the top three stocks on the Dow with a 1.9% gain this week. The company took a step toward winning a South Korean fighter contract by bidding $7.4 billion to build 60 aircraft for the country. It was the only bid under South Korea's price ceiling and appears to be the front-runner ahead of a final decision. Deutsche Lufthansa AG is also looking to buy 50 wide-body jets in an order that could bring in $10 billion to the winner. The 787 Dreamliner and 777X are reportedly being evaluated, and this could be another big win for the company.
Boeing is generating most of its new business overseas and with many global regions are still stuck in neutral their resurgence could result in windfall profits for select companies. A recent Motley Fool report, "3 Strong Buys for a Global Economic Recovery," outlines three companies that could take off when the global economy gains steam. Click here to read the full report!