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The markets have started the week with a shaky performance so far, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) bouncing back and forth all day. As of 2:25 p.m. EDT the index is about 34 points in the red. While most of the Dow's 30 blue chips are losing value today, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has done its best to keep investors' hopes up today with a strong showing. Let's catch up on all the Dow action you need to know about today.
An upgrade for Intel
Intel's risen sharply on the day, leading the Dow's member stocks by a significant margin with a 2.4% gain. Analysts from Piper Jaffrey upgraded Intel earlier today, citing a likely turnaround in the PC division next year that would lift the company's sales -- in 2012, Intel's sales fell year over year. The analysts say government institutions and businesses will look to upgrade existing computer infrastructure next year, moving on from older PCs running Windows XP. These upgrades could supposedly replace more than 100 million computers.
This would be a massive windfall for Intel if the analysts are right. As much as Intel needs to diversify into higher-growth areas, the PC sector still is by far its bread and butter. Intel's PC client group recorded more than 60% of the firm's total sales over the first half of the year, with the next-largest segment, the data center group, only recording about 20% of total sales. Falling PC sales have hammered Intel's results, and it'll take improvement in that area to turn around the company's fortunes in the near term even as it moves into stronger markets for the long term.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) shares are also having a nice day, up around 1.5% to trail only Intel. According to sources cited by Reuters, Boeing has taken the lead in a competition to provide 60 fighter aircraft to South Korea's military, a deal that's offering more than $7 billion to the winner. Boeing is facing off against Europe's EADS and fellow American aerospace giant Lockheed-Martin (NYSE:LMT), the latter of which is offering its fifth-generation F-35 against Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle.
Lockheed's aircraft has technology and youth on its side, as the F-15 has been around for decades. However, with the costs of the F-35 program soaring, it's not altogether surprising that Boeing's older yet cheaper and combat-proven aircraft has taken the lead in South Korea's competition.
A victory would be a giant boost to Boeing's defense backlog, which hasn't yet taken a hit despite the effects of sequestration coming into play. While Boeing increased that backlog of military craft by 1% over the first six months of the year, winning the $7.4 billion contract would add a 19% lift to the current backlog of $39.1 billion. That's not a change Boeing investors would like to pass up.
Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Lockheed Martin. 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.