RealTime IT News

Microsoft Sends Stocks Soaring

A blow-out quarter from Microsoft sent its shares soaring to a multi-year high Friday and boosted the Nasdaq by nearly 2%.

Microsoft shares surged 9.5% to 35.03, its biggest one-day gain in years, and benefited the likes of Dell and HP, as the company showed that a product upgrade cycle can still pack a punch. Microsoft's sales and earnings came in much higher than Wall Street analysts were expecting, thanks to strong sales of Windows Vista, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, Windows Server, SQL Server and Halo 3.

Blue chip stocks posted strong gains on a hopeful outlook from Countrywide Financial and a possible change in leadership at Merrill Lynch, giving a boost to the beleaguered financial sector.

But chip stocks remained a laggard, as a 41% plunge in shares of Trident Microsystems on a weak outlook kept the sector from celebrating the good news from Microsoft. Micrel was another chipmaker reporting weaker than expected results.

Internet stocks were strong thanks to solid results from Baidu.com, and Yahoo gained 7.3%, continuing its run on a better than expected earnings report.

BEA Systems fell 5.9% on merger talks with Oracle that continue to stall.

Vonage surged 39% after settling its patent troubles with Verizon.

Omniture and Visual Sciences — formerly Websidestory — gained on plans to merge, and Verticalnet plunged on plans to be acquired by BravoSolution for $2.56 a share.

The Nasdaq surged 53 to 2804, the S&P rose 20 to 1535, and the Dow gained 134 to 13,806. Volume declined to 3.58 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.59 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 24-8 margin on the NYSE, and 19-10 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 83% on the NYSE, and 68% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 259-99 on the NYSE, and 157-144 on the Nasdaq.