Image source: Getty Images.

Stocks ticked lower on Friday but ended the week with slight overall gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) index each fell by roughly half a percentage point on the day.

Today's stock market:


Percentage change

Point change




S&P 500



Source: Yahoo Finance.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), meanwhile, posted big price swings on Friday after the tech giants updated investors on their latest operating trends.

Intel says the PC market is improving

Intel was the biggest mover on the Dow, rising 3% following a surprisingly upbeat reading on the PC market. The chip giant raised its official sales outlook for the current quarter to $15.6 billion, or well ahead of the $14.9 billion it had projected just two months ago. That would amount to an 8% year-over-year revenue jump. Profitability also got a big boost with gross profit margin now seen at 62% instead of 60%.

Image source: Getty Images.

Both the top and bottom line upgrades were driven by brightening prospects in the PC market, management said. Intel has noticed an uptick in volumes requested by retailers, and executives are "seeing some signs of improving PC demand", according to the statement.

The improving trend makes it likely that Intel will raise its full-year guidance that, as of late July, forecast mid-single-digit sales growth and a 62% gross margin. "We remain cautious on the PC market", CEO Brian Krzanich said at the time after the client-computing division posted a 3% decline.

Friday's update shows that executives have turned more optimistic about the industry, and that means improving sales and profit growth ahead for the chip titan. The company will post its full fiscal third quarter results, along with a likely revamped outlook, on Oct. 18.

Oracle makes progress in its growth markets

Oracle shares fell 5% after the database giant's quarterly report failed to impress Wall Street. Revenue rose 3% to $8.6 billion, or just shy of consensus estimates calling for $8.7 billion. Earnings were also a tad below forecasts, as adjusted profit improved by 4% to $0.55 per share, while analysts were targeting $0.58 per share.

Image source: Getty Images.

The short-term miss aside, this was a solid report for Oracle. After all, it marked the tech titan's first quarter of sales growth in over a year, even as net income rose by a healthy 6% year-over-year.

Cloud-based businesses logged accelerating sales and profit gains, too. Combined software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) revenue spiked 82% to beat management's guidance for the second straight quarter. Profitability also improved in those segments, with gross margin rising to 62% from 56% last quarter.

Executives are optimistic that these gains will continue. "We believe this will be the second year in a row that Oracle has sold more SaaS and PaaS than any cloud services provider", CEO Safra Catz said in a press release.

Oracle projects gross margin to eventually hit 80% in these strategic growth businesses, which should help offset stubborn declines in its software-licensing division. Yet investors appeared to focus instead on the quarter's top and bottom-line misses, pushing shares nearly 5% lower on Friday.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.