Investors have been waiting for earning season to officially begin, and last night it finally happened. Alcoa report better-than-expected earnings, but slightly lower revenue than what most analysts wanted to see. While this didn't overexcite many investors, it also didn't send very many market participants into a selling frenzy this morning. And by the time the closing bell rang, most investors had already turned their attention to other matters, with the markets closing on a high note for the second day in a row.

Stocks rose across the board today and the indexes followed behind. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to rise by 59 points, or 0.41%, and closed just a stone's throw away from 14,700, at 14,673. The S&P 500 performed slightly worse, rising 0.34% and resting at 1,568, while the Nasdaq managed to best the rest, pulling itself higher by 0.48%.

Intel's stock rose 3.13% today. The company recently introduced a faster version of the Thunderbolt, and has its chips in the new Hewlett-Packard server line called Moonshot. Both Intel and HP have suffered lately as PC sales lagged behind mobile computing devices such as tablets and smartphones, but with the server business steaming up and both companies heavily involved, we should see profits begin to rise.  


The biggest Dow winner today was Microsoft , whose shares rose by 3.57%. A number of my colleagues have attributed today's move to the attacks Microsoft has launched against Google. The argument against Google is that its open-source operating system gives the company an unfair advantage over the competition that charges for its operating systems. Fool Travis Hoium went further by saying he believes that, if Microsoft and a group of other technology companies can convince the EU to take action against Google, it may be a huge win for Big Softy and its shareholders.  

The price of Cisco's stock also rose higher. Shares closed up 1.94% on very little news, but the company did announce that a longtime employee, John McCool would be leaving. McCool has been with the company for 17 years, and most recently held the position of senior vice president and chief technology officer for Cisco's global enterprise unit. McCool grew Cisco's catalyst line of switches and oversaw development and sales of specific data center products from 2008 to 2011. During that time, his unit increased revenue from $5 million to more than $1 billion.  

McCool will be replaced by Tom Wilburn, who has been with Cisco for eight years.

More on Microsoft's stock

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft, our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

The article Led by Microsoft, Big Tech Pulls Stock Market Higher originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems and Intel. It owns shares of Intel and Microsoft.   Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513.  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.

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