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Earnings, Acquisitions Send Stocks Higher

Strong results from HP and Cisco's all-cash acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta propelled stocks higher on Friday.

Investors cheered HP's strong earnings and continued turnaround, although the company's prediction of slower sales growth next year due to currency issues limited the stock's gains on the day. Shares of HP ended that day 1.4% higher at $29.40 after peaking just over $30 on a volatile options expiration day.

Cisco also breathed life into the tech sector with its acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta. Cash acquisitions have historically been viewed as positive because it suggests value when companies use cash instead of stock to acquire a company. Cisco will spend $5.3 billion of its $14 billion cash hoard to pocket SFA.

Also boosting stocks on the day were lower oil prices and GE's plan to buy back stock and sell its insurance business. The Nasdaq and S&P hit 4 1/2-year highs.

The Nasdaq rose 6 to 2227, the S&P 500 added 5 to 1248, and the Dow climbed 46 to 10,766. Volume rose to 2.42 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.06 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 19-13 on the NYSE, and 18-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 69% on the NYSE, and 62% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 187-134 on the NYSE, and 174-52 on the Nasdaq.

Ditech and Marvell surged on their results, while Autodesk tumbled 18% on a warning.



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