Amazon Leads Rally While Google, Palm Falter

Stocks rallied sharply Wednesday despite another round of dismal jobs and economic data, as traders cheered Chinese manufacturing growth and spending plans and a statement from GE (NYSE: GE) that the company doesn’t need to raise capital. (NASDAQ: AMZN) led the Nasdaq higher with a 5% gain on news of a free Kindle app for Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone. Apple shares gained 3.2%.

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) rose 6% despite downbeat comments about the economy at the Morgan Stanley technology conference, while Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) lost 2% on a similar outlook at the conference.

Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) fell 4% after slashing its sales outlook.

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) slipped on a JMP downgrade ahead of its quarterly earnings report on March 18, and Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) was another weak name, off 3%.

Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) were other big gainers. Nvidia rose more than 7% on reports that it could begin making an x86 chip.

Altera (NASDAQ: ALTR) and Overstock (NASDAQ: OSTK) surged on upgrades.

Rambus (NASDAQ: RMBS) climbed 8.7% on a legal victory.

Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) shares jumped in after-hours trading after the company maintained its earnings guidance but lowered its sales outlook.

The Nasdaq rose 32 to 1353, the S&P 500 climbed 16 to 712, and the Dow rose 149 to 6875. Volume rose to 8.85 billion shares on the NYSE, and declined to 2.36 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 30-8 margin on the NYSE, and 19-8 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 71% on the NYSE, and 81% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 2-356 on the NYSE, and 1-321 on the Nasdaq.

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