AMAT Gains as Tech Stocks Slip

Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) rose Monday following its second analyst upgrade in two days, but the rest of the tech sector slumped, with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and AMD (NYSE: AMD) leading the way lower.

AMAT shares gained 2 percent after FBR Capital said the company is well positioned for the ongoing chip recovery, on top of a 4 percent gain after a Needham “buy” rating on Friday.

But the biggest news for the tech sector this week will be Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC) quarterly earnings report, due out after the close on Thursday, which investors will be scouring for signs that the nascent economic recovery can continue.

Analysts are looking for strong year-over-year growth from Intel, with a 23.5 percent sales increase to $10.16 billion and earnings of 30 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Meanwhile, Palm (NASDAQ: PALM), Amazon and AMD were among the bigger decliners in the sector, with losses of 2 to 3 percent each.

McAfee (NYSE: MFE) also rose 2 percent on an upgrade, as UBS highlighted the company’s positive bookings trend.

The Nasdaq slipped 2 to 2312, the S&P 500 added 2 to 1147, and the Dow rose 45 to 10,663. Volume rose to 4.26 billion shares on the NYSE, but declined to 2.09 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 23-15 margin on the NYSE, while decliners led 14-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 64 percent on the NYSE, and 46 percent on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 735-82 on the NYSE, and 230-10 on the Nasdaq.

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