Thursday's Tech Recap

by: Rupert Nicholson

The tech sector had another bearish start to the day. It fell as much as 1.50% in the early hours of trading, only to rally to a loss of just 0.45% by the end of the day. Since its bullish rally on Tuesday, the sector has fallen 1.43%, eliminating the entirety of the gain it recorded on Tuesday.

Notably, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) performed significantly better than it has over the past few days. The social network's stock grew by 5% during the day after a bullish run very late in the day, although it was down 0.50% after hours. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) also recovered from early losses, finishing only slightly down for the day. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) was not as fortunate, as its stock price remained depressed throughout the day, despite a mini bullish run in the middle of the day. It closed 1.11% down.

As a result of the poor performance by the technology sector, the Nasdaq closed with a loss of 0.35%, the worst performing of the three main indices. All three indices headed south early in the day due to the worsening of the European situation, however, they recuperated most of their losses later in the day off a bullish rally by the markets. The Dow was positive briefly before sinking back into negative growth before the close.

Going forward, the tech sector will continue to be very volatile over the coming months. Unfortunately, like the markets in general, the sector is suffering from the pain in Europe and the fragile state of the world economy. However, the technology sector is as safe a bet as any due to the growing importance of many subsets of the sector.

For example, near field communication is becoming increasingly important in the world today as it seeks to replace credit cards. NCF technology is when smart phones communicate with other devices to transfer data. Its most common use right now is paying for items efficiently and easily. NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) is the best company in this industry, so to take advantage of the growing importance of NFC, invest in it. Chances are it will do very well over the coming year as it capitalizes on its position.

Top Gainers

  • Elephant Talk Communications (ETAK) up 29.31%, down 12.89% after hours
  • Ciena Corporation (NASDAQ:CIEN) up 14.06%
  • CGI Group (NYSE:GIB) up 13.66%
  • FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL) up 11.57%, down 2.60% after hours
  • Valence Technology (VLNC) up 10.45%

Top Losers

  • Semiconductor Manufacturing Int'l (NYSE:SMI) down 12.90%
  • A123 Systems (AONE) down 10.53%
  • KIT Digital (OTC:KITD) down 8.94%
  • India Limited (NASDAQ:REDF) down 8.28%
  • Mindspeed Technologies (NASDAQ:MSPD) down 7.19%

Key Events

  • Orange, France Telecom's (FTE) subsidiary, has released its new smart phone. The phone uses Android's operating system and is powered by Intel's single-core Atom Z2460. This marks an important step for Intel as it seeks to enter the growing mobile marketplace. Notably, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) subsidiary, already has a deal with Intel to use Intel's chips in its phones. (here) This is likely to help France Telecom going forward, making it a very attractive investment. Interestingly, right now, it also has a high dividend yield and a coveted 5-star rating on Morningstar.
  • Microvision (NASDAQ:MVIS) announced an order from Pioneer Corporation (OTCPK:PNCOF) to supply more than $4 million of key components. These components are intended for use in Pioneer's Cyber Navi head-up-display. The head-up-display is expected to go on sale in Japan in July and is meant to facilitate the driving experience. Microvision was up more than 40% after the news was released. (here)
  • Microsoft has released a preview of its Windows 8 OS to users. It has released previews in the past, however, this version is said to be much more complete with thousands of improvements to the operating system. Windows 8's much anticipated release is due in October. The new operating system is expected to either "make or break" the company. If it is a success, it will represent a significant triumph for Microsoft in its battle with Apple and other large technology companies for control of the consumer technology market. (here)

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.