Apple, Yahoo Fall as Tech Stocks Rally

Despite some downbeat corporate news and worries about the banking sector, stocks managed to finish Thursday’s trading session with modest gains after clawing back from steep early losses.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) ended the day down 2.3% on news of CEO Steve Jobs’ medical leave — but that was well off the day’s lows. Two analysts downgraded the stock, but Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall upgraded the stock to “buy” on its low valuation.

Shares of Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) and Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) ended the day sharply higher.

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) fell 6.5% on reports that new CEO Carol Bartz favors hanging on to the company’s search business, disappointing investors hoping for a deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) rose nearly 8% despite issuing a cautious outlook and announcing job cuts.

Nuance (NASDAQ: NUAN) jumped 12% on an IBM (NYSE: IBM) speech recognition deal and an investment from Warburg Pincus.

CryptoLogic (NASDAQ: CRYP) jumped 18% on its guidance.

AutoDesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) fell 12% after lowering its outlook.

The day was also a busy one on the economic front, with worries about Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE: C) — both will report earnings tomorrow — and rising jobless claims in the U.S. competing with a European Central Bank interest rate cut. The late rally was attributed to hopes that Congress will release the rest of the TARP financial bailout money; the Senate gave its blessing after the close.

Also after the close, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) edged higher after releasing fourth-quarter results that met lowered estimates, but the company’s first-quarter guidance of around $7 billion in revenues was below $7.3 billion estimates.

The Nasdaq rose 22 to 1511, the S&P 500 added 1 to 843, and the Dow gained 12 to 8212. Volume rose to 7.93 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.52 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 20-17 margin on the NYSE, and 16-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 54% on the NYSE, and 67% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 17-147 on the NYSE, and 6-119 on the Nasdaq.

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