Lately, it has seemed as though we're fighting a battle we last saw at the turn of the millennium, with old-economy industrial stocks vying for dominance against younger technology companies. At least for today, you can chalk up one in the win column for tech stocks, as despite a loss of 25 points in the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) and even larger percentage drop in the S&P 500, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite managed to post a very modest gain on the day. Good news from the housing front wasn't enough to offset poor earnings from the industrial sector today, leading to the mixed market.
Yet tech stocks within the Dow did their best to minimize the Dow's losses. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) rose by 1.5% even as most of the attention in the PC hardware space went to rival Dell (UNKNOWN:UNKNOWN) and the continuing drama surrounding competing proposals that will define its future. Arguably, the greater the uncertainty for Dell, the longer HP can benefit from customers who don't want to chance the possibility that Dell won't be around to stand behind its products. Yet for long-term investors, the PC business is a distraction for HP that should instead give way to the vision toward higher-margin services. If HP can implement those initiatives, they'd go a long way toward justifying the stock's gains.
IBM (NYSE:IBM) finished up about 0.8% after the company announced this morning that it would work with the newly formed Pivotal joint venture to help develop the Cloud Foundry open-source project and platform. By taking advantage of open cloud architecture, IBM hopes to lure customers to take advantage of applications without their being locked into a particular proprietary platform. With a jointly hosted conference in early September, IBM and Pivotal have a huge opportunity to further their business goals.
Finally, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) picked up more than three-quarters of a percent even as mobile-chip rival ARM Holdings posted better-than-expected revenue and earnings. Intel has been doing its best to overcome ARM's lead in the mobile processor space, but a 10% rise in backlogs at ARM and 20% greater chip shipments show just how uphill a battle Intel faces. Still, with extensive financial resources and multiple initiatives to reassert its dominance, Intel isn't letting anyone count it out just yet.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Intel. It owns shares of IBM. 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.