What happened

Shares of some of the world's biggest technology companies gained ground on Friday after several difficult sessions for the market. Semiconductor specialist Nvidia (NVDA -10.01%) was up as much as 2.4%, social media giant Meta Platforms (META -4.13%) rose as much as 3.7%, and customer relationship management (CRM) specialist Salesforce (CRM -0.57%) climbed as much as 3.8%.

While each of the stocks dipped slightly from those highs, the trio were still up 1.5%, 3.7%, and 3.5% respectively, as of 12:46 p.m. ET.

The catalyst that sent a wide swath of technology stocks higher today was a read on consumer spending, which was more robust than many had predicted.

So what

While there wasn't much in the way of company-specific news, some broader economic developments may have provided fuel for the rally.

U.S. retail sales climbed 1% in June, a figure that was slightly higher than the 0.9% increase economists had predicted, though it's important to note that some of the rise in spending was the result of higher prices for food and gas. This better-than-expected read on retail sales followed a 0.1% decline in May, which had fueled fears that a recession might be imminent. 

Consumer spending is the bedrock of the economy and the slightly higher read on spending suggests that shoppers aren't tapped out yet, even as they deal with higher inflation. Some economists suggested the increased spending is being fueled by growing credit card debit, which could weigh on consumers in the future.

The news came on the heels of a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday that revealed that inflation in the U.S. rose to its highest rate since 1981. The consumer price index -- which tracks changes in a basket of goods over time -- surged 9.1% year over year in June, fueled by higher energy costs. Gas prices climbed 11.2% in June, following a 4.1% jump in May, so consumers are feeling the pain at the pump. 

Still, investors chose to view the glass as half full and bid up shares of technology stocks, which have been beaten down much more than the broader market. In fact, shares of Salesforce, Nvidia, and Meta Platforms are currently trading down significantly off their highs of late last year, giving long-term investors a compelling opportunity. 

CRM Chart

Data by YCharts.

Declines of that magnitude have attracted investors hunting for bargains, even as the potential for a recession remains.

Now what

There were a couple of company-specific developments, but nothing that would move the needle very much.

Nvidia has been on the receiving end of several analyst price target cuts this week as Wall Street grows increasingly concerned about a decline in spending for high-end video game chips, which are the company's bread and butter. 

Meta Platforms got a boost on news that it is testing a feature that allows users to create as many as four additional profiles on its flagship Facebook social media site, linking different identities to specific interests. The move could help drive higher user engagement and boost slowing growth on the platform, though it's still in the testing phase. 

Today's stock price increases appear to be nothing more than a relief rally after a couple of negative trading sessions.

That said, there are reasons for long-term investors to be bullish. Nvidia remains the undisputed leader in providing graphics processing units (GPUs) to gamers, with an industry-leading 80% share of the discrete desktop GPU market. Furthermore, Nvidia is the go-to for semiconductors used in cloud and data center processing, used by all the world's leading cloud providers. At the same time, Meta Platforms dominates the social media space, with 2.87 billion users accessing one of its platforms every day. Salesforce is a pioneer in CRM software and remains the industry leader.

Even as macroeconomic challenges persist, investors with a long-term investing time horizon should be buying up Nvidia, Meta Platforms, and Salesforce stocks -- before the market comes to its senses.