The Dow Jones Industrials Average (INDEX: ^DJI) has been teasing investors for about two weeks now with the possibility of closing above 13,000. Despite some flirtations with the psychological threshold, and even some brief breakthroughs, the index kept falling back below the mark.

But not today. The bulls managed to shake the bears on strong consumer-confidence data and rallied the index for a late-session push to 13,005.

Here is a look at how the three major indices fared.

 Index

Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average +23.61 +0.18% 13,005
Nasdaq +20.60 +0.69% 2,986
S&P 500 +4.59 +0.34% 1,372

A big push like that is all about a collective effort, but three companies stood out as doing most of the heavy lifting today.

  • Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) led the charge with a 1.66% gain, bringing the company's year-to-date performance to an impressive 22.8% -- one of the Dow's highest. Today's movement was probably fueled by anticipation for the company's Windows 8, which is being showcased tomorrow at the Mobile World Congress. The choice of venues underscores one of the biggest shifts for Windows 8, which is a step toward integrating tablets and PCs -- much like how Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has begun to do with its iCloud service and increasing similarities between operating systems. Microsoft is betting the farm on the new product, and it'll have to if it expects to curb the growth of the juggernaut from Cupertino.
  • Another tech Dow stock putting up big growth today is Intel (Nasdaq: INTC). Much like Microsoft, Intel has been late to the mobile game, but it's making a renewed push into the industry. The company is also probably getting a boost in anticipation of the Mobile World Congress tomorrow.
  • The third biggest Dow gainer of the day was year-to-date market laggard Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ). The company has been plagued with recent recalls, which were a major impetus behind Warren Buffett's decision to reduce his position in the health-care giant. Investors can only hope that management has seen the light and will turn the quality-control ship around.

Looking past today
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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.