RealTime IT News

Palm, SanDisk Lead Tech Stocks Higher

Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) and SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) rose on upgrades Friday as the stock market rally continued for a fourth day, the market's best week since November.

SanDisk shares soared 11% on a Lazard Capital upgrade on improved pricing, and Toshiba and Samsung takeover rumors also helped the stock.

Palm rose 6.7% on an RBC Capital upgrade on hopes for a rebound in the company's smartphone business. But Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) fell 3% on a ThinkEquity sell rating.

Chip stocks were strong once again, with chip equipment makers leading the way higher on hope that the sector is bottoming out. Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT), Lam Research (NASDAQ: LRCX) and KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ: KLAC) rose more than 4%, and Novellus (NASDAQ: NVLS) climbed 5.7%.

Seagate (NASDAQ: STX) and PMC-Sierra (NASDAQ: PMCS) were other big gainers, and STEC (NASDAQ: STEC) jumped 18% on strong flash storage sales.

But Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) continued to sink on worries about the PC market, off more than 2%.

NetScout (NASDAQ: NTCT) tumbled 24% on a Needham downgrade, and EMC (NYSE: EMC) lost 2.6% on a Thomas Weisel downgrade.

The biggest news next week will be Oracle's (NASDAQ: ORCL) earnings report after the market closes on Wednesday.

The broader market continued to gain on better than expected news from banks, GM (NYSE: GM) and GE (NYSE: GE) and an improved consumer spending outlook. Hopes for relief for financial companies from mark-to-market accounting rules and the possible restoration of SEC restrictions on shorting have also helped stocks. The S&P and Nasdaq soared more than 10% this week, while the Dow gained 9%.

The Nasdaq rose 5 to 1431, the S&P 500 gained 5 to 756, and the Dow rose 54 to 7224. Volume declined to 7.94 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.06 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 24-13 margin on the NYSE, and 15-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 62% on the NYSE, and 58% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 7-62 on the NYSE, and 9-43 on the Nasdaq.