In a week filled with earnings it would be easy to think that the market would move dramatically higher or lower. But at the end of the week, U.S. stock markets barely budged. with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) gaining a paltry 0.10% and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) up 0.45%. There wasn't a plethora of economic news, but a reading that consumers were more confident than they've been in six years should give everyone a little more hope that the economy is on a road to recovery.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) was the biggest winner in the Dow this week, gaining 3.4%, but it may not have anything to do with HP at all. Competitor Dell's buyout ran into a snag this week, and the company's shareholder meeting was never actually concluded with a vote on Dell's offer. The longer this fiasco drags out, the less attention Dell's management can put into its PC business, and that's good for HP. It's amazing how fast the industry can flip, because just a few years ago, Dell looked like it had the rock-solid management and HP was being led by the blind. Today, the tables have turned, and we don't even know who's going to own Dell a few months from now.
The big positive earnings move came from United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), which jumped 2.4% after reporting a 15% increase in revenue to $16 billion. Full-year guidance was also moved higher as demand for aircraft components has driven the company's revenue. It looks like the acquisition of Goodrich last year was well timed, and while this stock won't hit our hot list very often, it's steady as they come and pays a solid 2.1% dividend yield.
Verizon (NYSE:VZ) rounds out the top three with a 2.1% gain, after Vodafone Group Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said the company would consider a buyout of its stake in Verizon Wireless. Vodafone owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, and both companies have talked about a Verizon buyout for years with little luck. The problem at this point is price, and Vodafone may command $120 billion or more for its stake. Verizon would love to make the buyout, and make it while interest rates are low enough to borrow tens of billions of dollars for the deal, but it hasn't appeared willing to pay more than $100 billion. Still, the stock will move higher on just the prospect of seeing Verizon own all of Verizon Wireless, which is still the best asset in wireless right now.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Vodafone Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.