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The Markets Now: Groupon and Salesforce.com Give Tech Sector a Boost

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Einhorn drops his lawsuit against Apple.

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Stocks have pushed higher after all major indexes opened lower this morning. Congress won't reach a deal on the sequester, and $85 billion in budget cuts will begin going into effect today. Positive manufacturing data and improved consumer sentiment helped give investors some optimism. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) climbed 0.37% to 14,106.25, and the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) increased 0.34% to 1,519.84. The Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) rose by 0.29% to 3,169.21.

The ISM manufacturing report showed a gain in manufacturing from 53.1 to 54.2. Diverging from the PMI Manufacturing Index report, which was also released today, the ISM report showed an increase in new orders for exports, which climbed 3.5 points to 53.5. The PMI slowed to 54.3 from a mid-month flash reading of 55.2, and new orders for exports decreased from a flash reading of 48.7 to 48.5. According to the ISM report, growth in hiring slowed 1.4 points to 52.6.

The University of Michigan's Consumer Survey showed an increase in consumer sentiment from a mid-month reading of 76.3 to 77.6 despite rising gas prices and the budget battles in Washington.

Personal income dropped 3.6% in January, largely due to the fiscal cliff outcome, and exceeded expectations of a 2.1% decline. Income had spiked 2.6% in December as companies paid dividends before the increase in the dividend tax. Dividend income increased 32.8% in December, but declined 34.8% in January. Wages and salaries declined 0.6% in January after increasing 0.7% in December. Payroll tax increases have also taken more income from households.

Despite the drop in personal income, personal spending increased 0.2% in January, inline with analysts' estimates.

Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) beat fourth-quarter estimates, reporting increased sales of $834.7 million, or a 32% increase year-over-year, and a profit of $0.51 per share. According to data from Bloomberg, analysts projected sales of $830.9 million and a profit of $0.40. Shares of the company have surged 7.72% to 182.28 on the news.

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) fired its CEO Andrew Mason, and the stock has spiked 10.15% to $4.99 as a result.

Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) and Tessera Technologies (NASDAQ:TSRA) settled their patent lawsuit pertaining to the manufacture, use, and sale of packaged semiconductor components and assemblies. Tessera will keep the financial terms of the settlement confidential. AMD's stock prices has declined 2.41% to 2.43.

GameStop's (NYSE:GME) stock has fallen since yesterday, dropping 1.84% to $24.33. Many investors worry whether or not GameStop can remain relevant in a changing video game industry.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) no longer has to face David Einhorn in court; he dropped his lawsuit against the tech company yesterday. Einhorn took issue with Apple because it put its Proposal No. 2 to a vote for shareholders but bundled different issues into one vote. The federal judge issued a preliminary injunction last week, preventing Apple from conducting the vote. Without a permanent injunction, the lawsuit would have continued except for the fact that the Apple's shareholders' meeting is still months off.

Shares of Apple have shed 1.61%, bringing the stock at 434.31.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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