Analysts Give Techs a Lift

Stocks rallied to new 4 1/2-year highs Friday, boosted by a weaker than expected jobs report that fueled hopes that the Federal Reserve will soon stop raising interest rates.

The Nasdaq closed above 2300 for the first time since May 2001, helped by several analyst upgrades.

Yahoo and Google gained 3-4% on positive comments from Goldman Sachs, and Caris & Co. analyst Mark Stahlman said Google shares could hit $2,000 eventually. Yahoo and Google also got a boost from their video plans, and both companies also made wireless deals with Motorola , sending that company’s shares 3.5% higher.

IBM , meanwhile, rose 3% after the company announced plans to move away from its defined pension plan. Goldman Sachs made upbeat comments on Big Blue too.

The broader market gained after a government report showed that the economy added half as many jobs as expected in December, but the bond market lost ground on higher than expected wage gains, a potential inflation threat.

The Nasdaq surged 28 to 2305, the S&P 500 gained 12 to 1285, and the Dow rose 77 to 10,959. Volume declined to 2.42 billion shares on the NYSE, but rose to 2.32 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 24-8 on the NYSE, and 20-10 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 80% on the NYSE, and 77% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 337-20 on the NYSE, and 232-20 on the Nasdaq.

Accenture rose 5% on better than expected results and guidance. surged 10% on an upgrade.

EMC lost 2% despite raising guidance, while Xyratex climbed 9% on its results.

Saba jumped 16% after posting a profit.

Ixia tumbled 20% on a warning.

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