The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) had gained almost half a percent as of 11:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday. Even though positive economic data played a key role in the rise, stock investors also looked to the technology sector for leadership, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq indexes were up substantially more than the Dow. Among blue-chip tech components, though, the day was mixed, with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) jumping but Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) left behind.
Intel gained 1.3% as investors continue to gain confidence in the chipmaker's ability to compete more effectively throughout the technology space. Intel has been working hard to incorporate a greater number of mobile-friendly offerings into its repertoire, fleshing out its menu to include more of its own proprietary supporting chips on its broader processor platforms. By doing so, Intel hopes to catch up with its biggest rivals in the mobile space, although early indications suggest its latest platform might have at least some competitive disadvantages in handling imaging. Despite facing some delays on its pipeline of future chip-line launches, Intel seems to be satisfying investors simply by making a stronger effort to play a more important role in the mobile arena, setting the stage for an increasingly focused approach in the future.
On the other hand, Microsoft missed out on the gains in the Dow and the Nasdaq with a 0.4% fall. Investors aren't sure the company's release of its Surface Pro 3 tablet will be the game changer in mobile technology that Microsoft has looked for in recent years, as users weigh whether the utility of full Windows/Office availability is worth the higher cost compared to some rivals. Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to face fallout on its unpopular Windows 8 operating system, with the latest setback coming from China's decision last week to ban some government purchases of computing devices running the operating system. Reports suggest that Microsoft's decision to end support for the old Windows XP operating system might have played a role in Beijing's move, and over the weekend, Microsoft took steps to change how it makes the transition away from XP in China. Still, the episode is another reminder of the negative publicity Microsoft has gotten lately, and it proves that new CEO Satya Nadella still has a lot of work to do to restore the company's reputation.
Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Microsoft. 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.