RealTime IT News

Banks, Bernanke Boost Stocks

Stocks rallied Thursday on the promise of more rate cuts from the Federal Reserve and a potential buyout of the nation's biggest mortgage lender.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke left little doubt that more rate cuts are on the way in a midday speech, and a Wall Street Journal report that Bank of America was in talks to acquire troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial sent stocks into overdrive before they pared their gains late in the day.

The tech sector ended the day up half a percent despite modest declines in big names like Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Google and Amazon.

AMD gained 8% on news of a New York antitrust investigation into rival Intel.

Yahoo and Logitech were up more than 6% each on speculation that they could be acquired by Microsoft.

E*Trade rocketed 22% on the Countrywide news.

Tellabs and Ciena were strong despite no apparent news.

It was the second straight day of gains for the stock market, following the Nasdaq's longest losing streak in 18 months.

The Nasdaq rose 14 to 2488, the S&P climbed 11 to 1420, and the Dow gained 117 to 12,853. Volume declined to 5.13 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.67 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 22-10 margin on the NYSE, and 18-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 78% on the NYSE, and 64% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 48-216 on the NYSE, and 63-315 on the Nasdaq.