Intel Powers the Dow

Giant chip-maker Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) is driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) this morning, as the technology titan revels in new product announcements and an analyst upgrade.

Jeffries released an upgrade from "hold" to "buy" on the tech firm earlier today, commenting on the company's push to produce more powerful, energy-efficient microprocessors at the lowest prices. The analyst noted that this momentum will likely result in a larger market share for Intel, particularly in mobile.

Intel made a slew of new product announcements earlier this week at its developer forum, including its new vPro chip for business applications, as well as its much-anticipated Bay Trail series of microchips for tablets and 2-in-1 tablet-laptop hybrid devices. The new line of chips is expected to deliver up to three times the performance of its predecessor, the Clover Trail.

Financials float higher
Banking stocks are looking brighter today, as both Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) produce some respectable gains by late morning. JPMorgan has committed to spending $4 billion more on housekeeping beginning this year, in an effort to clean up problems with regulatory compliance issues.

The bank has been having a boatload of problems with its internal risk controls, and has spent more on legal expenses tied to this issue since 2008 than any other bank, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Retail sales
Procter and Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) are also in the green today, following the U.S. Census Bureau's report on retail sales. Although the increase for August, at 0.2%, was less than analysts had hoped, there was some good news, as well. Numbers for July were bumped up to a gain of 0.4%, compared to the original increase of 0.2%.

While it's unknown whether August's numbers will be revised upward as well, investors in the personal-products purveyor and popular retailer certainly don't seem worried about the smaller-than-anticipated increase.

Wal-Mart may also be getting a boost following a mayoral veto in Washington, D.C., of a bill that would have forced big retailers to pay their employees a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour. Meanwhile, Procter and Gamble investors seem pleased with P&G's recently announced efforts to boost the bottom line by "downsizing" packages of its most popular lines of disposable diapers, a change that will take effect on Monday.

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