Facebook Fuels a Surge for Technology Stocks

The rest of the technology sector simply basked in Facebook's glow.

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By Andrew Osterland

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The new economy trumped the old today, as blow-out earnings from Facebook fueled a surge in technology stocks.

The tech-weighted Nasdaq Composite index was up 1.37 percent as Facebook's strong results pulled the entire sector up. The Dow index, on the other hand, sagged after disappointing results from DowDuPont and Microsoft. It fell 0.06 percent on the day. The S&P 500 index was up 0.86 percent and the Entrepreneur Index™ closed the day up 1.48 percent.

The market was suitably impressed with Facebook's monster quarter. The stock was up 10.82 percent -- the biggest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™ today. The move added $47 billion to the company's market value.

Despite the cloud of privacy and security scandals that have plagued the company in the last year, Facebook topped both sales and earnings estimates by wide margins. Active users on the social media network increased nine percent and, most importantly, the now more than 7 million advertisers on the company's platforms, (Facebook and Instagram being the biggest), continued to increase their spending.

Twitter, which knows of public image problems, was up 4.03 percent. Chipmaker NVIDIA Corp. continued to claw back some of the more than 50 percent plunge it has had since early October. It was up 4.63 percent on top of yesterday's 4.4 percent gain. Amazon.com, (2.89 percent) and Alphabet Inc. (2.51 percent) were both up smartly, while Netflix, (-0.34 percent) had one of the few losses in the sector.

It's fitting that Franklin Resources should bounce with the market today. The stock was up 1.79 percent. The fund company had the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ yesterday (-6.7 percent), after it reported dismal fourth quarter results thanks to the volatile stock market.

D.R. Horton Inc. and the rest of the homebuilding sector were up after new home sales in the U.S. came in much higher than estimates for November. The stock was up 2.29 percent. The housing market continues to send conflicting signals. Last week, existing home sales fell 6.4 percent, the biggest drop in years. D.R. Horton's stock is down 22 percent in the last year, but is up 10.6 percent so far this year.

Other notable gains included Boston Scientific Corp. (1.95 percent), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, (2.23 percent) and Bed Bath & Beyond, (2.93 percent).

Real state investment trust Kimco Realty Corp. had the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today, falling 1.9 percent. The mall operator beat revenue targets in the fourth quarter but had funds-from-operations(analogous to earnings) only in line with estimates.

Tesla also failed to impress with its earnings reported after the market close yesterday. The company did earn a profit for the second consecutive quarter and generated nearly $1 billion in free cash flow, but it missed on sales and earnings estimates. CEO Elon Musk also ended the earnings conference call yesterday with the news that CFO Deepak Ahuja was leaving the company -- for the second time. Tesla has lost dozens of senior executives in the last year. The stock was down 0.57 percent.

Other declines on the Entrepreneur Index™ today included clothing-makers Ralph Lauren Corp. (-0.69 percent) and Under Armour Inc. (-0.86 percent). Chipotle Mexican Grill was also down 0. 63 percent.

Amazon.com reported earnings after the market close today. The stock fell sharply last quarter after disappointing results. It is up 14 percent so far this year after falling 34 percent from its peak in early September to Christmas Eve.

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.

Andrew Osterland

Andrew Osterland is a contributing writer for CNBC.com. He specializes in capital markets, personal finance and taxes.

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