The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) had added 51 points as of 11 a.m. EST. Dow Jones component Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) led its index higher, while tech stocks Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) also rallied.
Philly Fed beats expectations
Perhaps helping to fuel the Dow Jones' rally, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's manufacturing index came in with a reading of 9, significantly above the 3.8 economists had anticipated.
While the index isn't the most vital measure of U.S. economic activity, as it is confined to a single region, a better than expected reading here is a sign of a stronger than anticipated economy.
Microsoft continues to move higher
Shares of Microsoft edged up another 1.5% on Thursday, adding to a gain that has already seen shares climb more than 5% this week. Microsoft is expected to unveil its Office software for Apple iPad next week, a product that should boost Microsoft's bottom line significantly in the coming months. That news was originally reported earlier this week, but Microsoft shareholders may be continuing to digest the long-term consequences for a company that seems to be embracing a more mobile-focused future.
Hewlett-Packard plans 3-D printing product
Microsoft's longtime hardware partner, Hewlett-Packard, was also enjoying a solid week, and shares were 2.4% higher on Thursday. Like Microsoft, HP plans to roll out a new product in the coming months.
In Hewlett-Packard's case, it's a 3-D printer. The company has long been a juggernaut in the traditional paper-printing business, but now Hewlett-Packard will look to extend its expertise into the third dimension. Hewlett-Packard's management said it will offer more detail on its plans to enter the market in June, aiming to offer a product for enterprise users.
Groupon remains volatile
Groupon shares were up 2.6% after a research report indicated that the company's business may be doing better than anticipated. Shares of the daily deal giant edged up a bit more than 2%.
ITG Research hiked its Groupon billings forecast, according to Seeking Alpha. The positive trend in billings is a good sign for Groupon's underlying business, as it suggests the company is performing better than expected.
This shift in Groupon shares isn't the most significant of moves. Groupon has been a particularly volatile stock in recent months, hitting a high near $12 in January before cratering last month after a disappointing earnings report. Longtime Groupon shareholders should be accustomed to such volatility at this point.
Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.