The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is trading largely sideways today. But that doesn't mean the Friday markets are boring. A number of tech stocks outside the Dow just reported earnings and big news, driving the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite index as much as 1% higher overnight. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) took the Nasdaq higher, and the 12% drop in Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) couldn't hold the tech index back -- AMD trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
Why did the Dow skip this party?
Before diving into the juicy tech action, let me explain why the Silicon Valley action didn't move the Dow Jones today. The four tech stocks on the Dow did not move in unison; three of them dipped slightly, while Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO ) jumped more than 1%, more or less pacing the Nasdaq.
But Cisco's modest share price of roughly $23 per stub means the stock must jump or plunge by extraordinary amounts in order to to affect the Dow at all. . Cisco's mini-spike just didn't matter much to the Dow, as it's currently the lowest-priced stock on the 30-member index. Each one of the six highest-priced Dow stocks carries more than five times the weight of Cisco thanks to the Dow's price-weighted nature. All told, the Dow's four tech musketeers ended up slicing three points off the index.
So that's why the Dow isn't joining in today's tech party. With that confusing issue settled, let's get back to the big tech action.
Big G lives up to its nickname
Google is Friday's biggest market-driver. The search and online-advertising giant's market cap was a muscular $300 billion last night, and today's 13% jump puts the stock over $330 billion in market value. Not only that, but Google's stock just broke the $1,000 share price benchmark for the first time.
In the third quarter, Google's non-GAAP earnings soared 21% higher year over year on 12% higher revenue. Both earnings and sales put Wall Street's estimates to shame. The strong performance was driven by Google-owned properties such as the Google search engine and the Gmail service. Paid ad clicks are rising faster than the cost per click is declining.
In short, Google's numbers are soothing the nerves of many investors and analysts, who worried that Google's falling ad rates might put a real dent in the company's financial performance. Google has proven that notion wrong many times before, and it just did it again.
As a Google shareholder, I'm happy to see the arbitrary but psychologically important $1,000 barrier breached, but I'm in no hurry to lock in my gains. Google is an extremely promising long-term story to my eyes -- the kind of nimble giant that will change with the times and remain relevant a hundred years from now.
AMD looks more "micro" than "advanced"
AMD took a modest leap earlier this week when archrival Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) reported mixed results. Intel's modest sales combined with relatively positive PC-market reports from independent research firms, adding up to potentially strong chip sales for AMD.
The company didn't exactly disappoint. AMD's third-quarter report last night included slightly stronger earnings and sales than expected, but it wasn't enough to support AMD's recent share-price gains.
Goldman notes that AMD has been losing market share to Intel again, rather than stealing it, and that the share loss should continue. That's never good news when the PC market itself is shrinking. Moreover, Goldman thinks AMD shares are wildly overvalued, as a generous multiple of 15 times next year's expected earnings only supports a $2 share price. That's about half of last night's closing price.
And that's how AMD became the worst performer on both the Nasdaq Composite index and the wider S&P 500 today. The chip market is changing fast, and AMD is far less equipped to handle the shifting sands than the much larger and always profitable Intel.
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