Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) fluctuated this morning even as the technology sector got a boost from some industry leaders. Consumer confidence, however, remains weak.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers reported that its final index of confidence for August fell to 65.7 from 66.0 in July, the lowest level it has been at in the past four months.  In fact, according to the report, consumers ranked economic conditions the worst since the market’s “bottom” in March.  The good news is that the index beat analysts’ expectations of 64.5 and is above this month’s preliminary reading of 63.2, Reuters reports.

In the technology world, chip-maker Intel (INTC) increased its third-quarter revenue forecasts above Wall Street’s expectations as demand for microchips increased, indicating that business is improving.  The Santa Clara, CA-based firm announced expected sales of $8.8 billion to $9.2 billion for the quarter, up from an original anticipation of $8.1 billion to $8.9 billion and ahead of $8.55 billion analysts expected.

Additionally, Dell (DELL), the nation’s second-largest personal computer maker, announced that although consumers are coming back to the market, corporations are holding off purchasing new hardware as they continue to implement lean measures.  The Texas-based company stated that it doesn’t expect to see a turnaround in corporate business until next year.  The news from both companies sent the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) up nearly 0.4% in morning trading.

Although the global economy appears to be recovering, things are not easing up in the Asia-Pacific region as the world’s second-largest economy reported the highest unemployment rate since World War II.  According to a report released by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the nation’s unemployment rate hit 5.7% in July, a 40.2% jump from the prior year.  Additionally, Japan’s average monthly income per household declined by 2.4% in nominal terms., states John Letzing of MarketWatch.  The news sent the iShares MSCI Japan Index (EWJ) down 0.2% in morning trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9%, the S&P 500 was down 0.7% and the Nasdaq gave up 0.4% in morning trading.

For more stories on Japan, visit our Japan category.

Kevin Grewal contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.