Back in Love With Tech

Investors showed their continued faith in tech stocks Tuesday along with the overall strength of the economy, thanks to a dip in oil prices and signs that general housing sales don’t appear bedeviled by a shaky sub-prime lending sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial average gained 128 points, or just over 1 percent to finish out the strong day in the markets at 12,510.30, and the Nasdaq index closed up by 28.07, or 1.16 percent, to 2,450.33 on the day. The S&P 500 also finished up with a 13.22 gain of about a percent to 1,437.77.

Oil prices eased up along with international news that the hostage situation between Iran and the British soldiers it captured recently could be headed for discussions.

Data on new home sales in the U.S. helped mollify ongoing concerns about the quality of loans in the shaky sub-prime sector of late. According to the National Association of Realtors, its pending home sales index was up by .07 percent in February compared to the same time last year.

That data helped get investors moving and into the tech sector as well.

Google  picked up a 3 percent gain of $14.07 to close at $472.60 during regular trading today following news that it would be using using advances in set-top-box technology to bring its search marketing analytics to TV advertising; plus, it got some more analyst love with another Wall Street upgrade.

The search darling announced a deal with satellite television provider EchoStar  that will allow advertisers to purchase Google TV ads through an auction model similar to Google’s Adwords product. EchoStar’s shares ticked up by 50 cents to $44.04 during the regular trading day, but had gained another 14 cents in after hours action.

Microsoft  gained 13 cents to close at $27.87 during regular trading today after it slapped nine lawsuits and issued more than 50 cease-and-desist letters against international smugglers accused of diverting discounted copies of its software into the United States.

Apple  managed to gain 85 cents on the day to close at $94.50 in regular trading despite getting hit with a new round of troubles with the European Union over its iTunes online music service.

The EU’s latest complaint is looking into the country-by-country arrangements that Apple and major record companies have worked out. The EC declared that the territorial restrictions in the deals violate Article 81 of the EC treaty. As part of the verification process, consumers are tied to the store where their credit card was issued so, for example, someone downloading from The Belgian iTunes store must use a credit card from a bank with a Belgian address.

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