3 Stocks Boosting The Technology Sector Higher

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 21 points (-0.1%) at 14,492 as of Monday, March 18, 2013, 12:50 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,220 issues advancing vs. 1,709 declining with 121 unchanged.

The Technology sector currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.3%. Top gainers within the sector include Apple ( AAPL), up 1.9%, and NTT DoCoMo ( DCM), up 0.8%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Telecom Italia SpA ADR ( TI.A), down 3.8%, VimpelCom ( VIP), down 2.6% and Telefonica ( TEF), down 2.0%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

3. Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) is one of the companies pushing the Technology sector higher today. As of noon trading, Hewlett-Packard is up $0.60 (2.7%) to $22.78 on heavy volume Thus far, 24.5 million shares of Hewlett-Packard exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 26.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $22.20-$22.90 after having opened the day at $22.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $22.18.

Hewlett-Packard Company and its subsidiaries provide products, technologies, software, solutions, and services to individual consumers, small-and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and large enterprises, including customers in the government, health, and education sectors worldwide. Hewlett-Packard has a market cap of $42.6 billion and is part of the computer hardware industry. Shares are up 55.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Hewlett-Packard a buy, 6 analysts rate it a sell, and 17 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hewlett-Packard as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself. Get the full Hewlett-Packard Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Verizon Communications ( VZ) is up $0.64 (1.3%) to $48.66 on average volume Thus far, 6.8 million shares of Verizon Communications exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 13.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $47.96-$48.75 after having opened the day at $48.02 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $48.02.

Verizon Communications Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. Verizon Communications has a market cap of $138.6 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 156.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate Verizon Communications a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 13 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Verizon Communications as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity. Get the full Verizon Communications Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT) is up $0.20 (0.7%) to $28.23 on average volume Thus far, 23.6 million shares of Microsoft Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 46.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $27.81-$28.28 after having opened the day at $27.88 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $28.04.

Microsoft Corporation develops, licenses, and supports software products and services; and designs and sells hardware worldwide. Microsoft Corporation has a market cap of $235.7 billion and is part of the computer software & services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 5.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 17 analysts that rate Microsoft Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Microsoft Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Microsoft Corporation Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 3 stocks, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the technology sector could consider Technology Select Sector SPDR ( XLK) while those bearish on the technology sector could consider ProShares Ultra Short Technology ( REW).

A reminder about TheStreet Ratings group: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.
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