The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 120 points as of 11:30 a.m. EDT. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the index's best performer, posting a solid gain of more than 2.6% in late morning. Tech stocks Qihoo 360 (UNKNOWN:QIHU.DL) and BlackBerry (NYSE:BB), were also experiencing significant rallies.
Dow rallies despite consumer sentiment survey
The Dow's rally came amid a flurry of economic data, some of which was notably negative. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan monthly survey on consumer expectations yielded a reading of 70, slightly less than the 70.2 that economists had expected. Overall consumer sentiment, meanwhile, came in at 80 -- again, less than the 80.5 estimate.
These survey results are not considered the most crucial of economic indicators, but they do suggest the typical American consumer is feeling less positive about the economy than was expected.
Microsoft rises after rolling out Office on the iPad
Microsoft's rise followed the company's formal rollout of its Office software suite for the Apple iPad. While all iPad owners can now view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents for free, they need a subscription to Microsoft's Office 365 service in order to create or edit files.
Given that most major corporations employ the tablet in some capacity, it's likely that Microsoft will see additional Office revenue from this move. Most analysts, reacting to the announcement, have been positive.
BlackBerry moves higher on earnings
Like Microsoft, shares of Canadian handset maker BlackBerry were up nearly 3% early in the session after the company reported a quarter that was stronger than analysts had anticipated.
Revenue and handset sales declined on the quarter. But BlackBerry reported an adjusted $0.08 per share loss on Friday -- analysts expected a loss of roughly $0.56 per share. It appears that new CEO John Chen's aggressive cost reduction plans have been working, leading investors to bid up shares, but it remains to be seen if BlackBerry can start growing its business once again.
Qihoo 360 bounces back
Chinese Internet firm Qihoo 360 notched a gain of more than 5% early in the session. There didn't seem to be much news to explain Qihoo's move -- instead, it may simply been a bounce back from a multisession sell-off.
Even with Friday's rally, Qihoo 360 shares are still down nearly 10% in the last five trading sessions. Longtime investors should expect such volatility -- Qihoo 360 has been prone to wild swings in recent months.