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RealTime IT News

National Semi, Telecoms Save The Day

Comments from National Semiconductor that its inventory woes are almost behind it turned around an early stock market sell-off on Thursday.

"Most of the inventory reductions in the distribution channel are behind us," National Semi CEO Brian Halla said in announcing that the company had beaten Wall Street earnings and revenue estimates.

The chip sector, which had been down 4.2% on warnings from Xilinx , Altera and Cymer , recovered to end the day down 1.5%, while the broader market bounced back from a loss to post gains on the day. National Semi went from a 6.6% loss to a 5% gain by the close.

Also helping sentiment were strong results and guidance from Ciena , which soared 23% on the news, and reports of a possible merger between Nextel and Sprint that sent those stocks 7-8% higher.

The Nasdaq ended the day 2 points higher at 2129, more than 30 points off its low. The S&P 500 climbed 6 to 1189, and the Dow gained 58 to 10,552. Volume rose to 1.62 billion shares on the NYSE, but declined to 2.3 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-15 on the NYSE, while decliners led 17-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 59% on the NYSE, and 50% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 141-46 on the NYSE, and 96-30 on the Nasdaq.

Covad gained 4% on a VoIP rollout.

Micromuse climbed 5% on an upgrade.

Chordiant fell 9% on an acquisition.

Inter-Tel tumbled 8% on a Justice Department settlement.