Blue-chip shares did their best to trade sideways on Tuesday, ending nearly flat as investors waited to hear more explicit plans from the Federal Reserve, which began a two-day policy meeting today. Wall Street will also be paying close attention to the second-quarter gross domestic product set to be released tomorrow by the Department of Commerce. Meanwhile the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) ended with winners and losers polarized along sector lines, with the index as a whole falling 1 point, or less than 0.1%, to close at 15,520.
Tech shares rallied as the sector continues to benefit from Facebook's quarterly beat last week. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) led the Dow with 1.3% gains, though shareholders will have to wait until August 14 to hear how the company itself did in its most recent quarter. The networking equipment giant is expected to grow sales by just under 6% this year, while analysts look for earnings per share to rise more than 8%.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) rose 1% Tuesday as Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview officially launched. The product, which was made available via download for current Windows 8 users, is geared toward business customers and embraces the "bring your own device" movement in the workplace. One exciting new feature in particular is called "Windows To Go," which enables users to essentially operate Windows 8 upon plugging in a USB drive -- no download or drawn-out setup necessary.
While tech companies shone today, the telecom sector ended firmly in the red. AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) laid claim to the bottom two spots in the Dow, losing 1.3% and 2.1%, respectively. The wireless rivals can blame their pesky competition for the slump: Sprint reported quarterly results, revealing a $1.6 billion second-quarter loss and more than 1 million subscribers leaving the network. While Sprint's woes are to some extent AT&T's and Verizon's gains, Wall Street seemed to indicate that Sprint's quarter wasn't actually as bad as expected, sending shares up 7.3%.