Stocks pulled off a gain Tuesday, after spending much of the day in the red. Microsoft led the Dow after several positive analyst comments.
But the retail sector took a hit today after weak outlooks from Home Depot and Target.
The gains were modest: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq each rose 0.3 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.1 percent. Still, it was enough to notch a new 13-month high on every index.
Microsoft gained 2 percent. Morgan Stanley raised its price target on the stock, citing encouraging demand for Windows 7 and the outlook for the holiday season.
UBS analyst Brent Thill on Monday slapped a "buy" rating and $34 price target on Microsoft stock, which is currently just shy of $30.
Thill also has a "buy" on Adobe and Oracle , with price targets of $43 and $27, respectively.
In other analyst action, Barclays raised its rating on ExxonMobil to "overweight" from equal weight."
Home Depot was the biggest drag on the Dow, falling 2.4 percent, after the home-improvement chain beat earnings expectations and raised its full-year outlook but said its markets remain under pressure. And, when you break down their forecast, the fourth-quarter outlook was below consensus.
Target fell 3 percent after the discount retailer reported its earnings rose 18 percent, snapping eight quarters of decline, but was also cautious on the fourth quarter amid weak sales results for early November, sending its shares lower.
And Pacific Sunwear droped 23 percent as the teen chain reported its loss for the latest quarter widened and warned its loss for the holiday quarter would be much more than Wall Street expects.
Consumer-discretionary stocks were among the day's worst performers, with the S&P discretionary-sector index down 0.7 percent.
Telecoms were one of the best performers, with gains across the smartphone sector: Palm jumped 5.8 percent, while Leap Wireless advanced 3.4 percent Motorola and Garmin gained nearly 2 percent.
Citigroup rose 1.4 percent after the lumbering financial giant gave its CFO and global markets co-head a pay increase. CEO Vikram Pandit's salary was unchanged.
Wall Street firms bailed out by the government, like Citigroup, have been struggling with how to retain top talent — and get them to perform.