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Sector Wrap: Financial, Retail, Solar Energy, Technology
Thursday, August 27, 5:09 PM ET

Financial, retail, solar and tech stocks are moving the markets this week as the news was packed with earnings, mergers, new products and analyst ratings. The Dow is trading higher Thursday afternoon and is looking for its eighth straight day of gains.

The solar sector has been bucking the trend lately, however, as stocks in the sector have been falling all week. The bad news started on Tuesday, when investment firm Macquarie downgraded shares of Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ), Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) and SunPower (SPWRA) on concerns that Chinese competitors were flooding the market with cheaper solar panels.

Claymore's Global Solar ETF (AMEX:TAN) has been trending lower all week, and this afternoon is down about one and a half percent.

Visa and Mastercard stole the spotlight in the financial sector, when each firm received an upgrade. Visa (NYSE:V) was upgraded to Buy at Deutsche Bank with a $80 price target, and Mastercard (NYSE:MA) was rated a Buy at Jefferies with a $240 price target. Deutsche Bank praised Visa's industry-leading global payment system, while Jefferies noted Mastercard's growth potential in debit transactions.

The Financial Select ETF (AMEX:XLF) is trading about three percent higher this week, with gains of three quarters of one percent today.

And cash registers were ringing this week as earnings news hit the wires for Williams Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) and American Eagle (NYSE:AEO). Home goods retailer Williams Sonoma beat Wall Street estimates by posting a slight gain in the second quarter, and management increased full year guidance as they've seen consumer traffic picking up in stores. American Eagle's earnings were not as optimistic, as the company saw same store sales fall by ten percent in the second quarter and profits fall by more than fifty percent year over year.

The S&P Retail ETF (AMEX:XRT) is trading higher this week by about four percent, and modestly higher this afternoon, up a little less than one half of one percent.

And news from the technology sector is headlined by Microsoft's price cuts and Sony's new product. Sony (NYSE:SNE) announced it would release an electronic reading device to compete with Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle. The new device would be called Reader Daily Edition and would be released in December, in time for the holiday season. Sony also made news last week when it cut the prices of the Playstation 3 game console. News of the price reduction forced Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to match the price on its Xbox game console in order to stay competitive with thrifty consumers.

The S&P Technology ETF (AMEX:XLK) was trading close to even this afternoon, while gaining only one half of one percent this week.

For, I'm Nichole Dossous.

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