Technology stocks, which spent most of the day in the red, caught fire in late trading as the Nasdaq composite roared up 135 points to finish at 4,717.29. Better than expected economic news, combined with a generally oversold market, made Thursday's rally possible.
The Producer Price Index, which shows inflation at the wholesale level, came in at 0.3 percent for February. The report was slightly ahead of estimates and clearly helped lift stocks. "This is just a real awakening to the fact that the old stocks weren't dead," said Larry Rice, chief investment officer at Josephthal Lyon & Ross. "I find it incredulous that you can take a two-year bear market in the Dow and reverse it in two days. So I'm not sure this is too sustainable past another day or so before the money flows back into Nasdaq."
Oracle, still riding the post earnings wave, moved up 3 5/16 to 81 15/16. Microsoft closed unchanged at 95 3/8 and Sun Microsystems closed up 2 1/2 to 90 3/4. Intel shot up 4 7/8 to 125 1/16. AMD closed unchanged at 49 1/4 and IBM moved up 2 1/16 to 109 1/16.
Tektronix's closed up 6 3/8 to 64 1/2 on earnings that topped First call's consensus estimate of 26 cents (16p) a share. After spending much of the trading day lower, eBay rallied to lead the Internet stocks higher. The online auctioneer closed up 29 5/8 to 219 1/2.
Yahoo! gained 11 11/16 to 170 3/16 while America Online (AOL) and Lycos picked up 5/8 and 3/8 a share, respectively. Amazon.com moved up 2 1/2 to 66 1/4 and Excite@Home added 13/16 to 29 1/8.
Freeserve (quote: FRE), the UK's largest Internet service provider (ISP) and portal, unveiled steady growth in its e-commerce and advertising revenue. Its shares finished off 2 5/8 to 95 1/8.
Maxtor Corporation gained 1 to 12 13/16 following an announcement that results for its fiscal first quarter, ending 1 April, will be better than expected. eGain shed 3 7/8 to 47 5/8 after it said it would buy Inference, a competitor in the customer relationship management sector, for about $78.6m (£48.7m).
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer moved up 1 5/16 to 55, Compaq slid 3/8 to 29 5/8, Gateway lost 2 1/8 to 55 7/8 and Apple Computer shot up 5 5/16 to 121 9/16. Cisco Systems rose 3 3/64 to 131 43/64, while 3Com and Lucent Technologies gained 3 7/16 and 1 7/16 a share, respectively.
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