Big Blue Saves The Day

Better than expected earnings from IBM and a strong manufacturing report saved the market from a sell-off on Thursday.

IBM surged 5% after beating estimates, offsetting lukewarm reports from Intel , Yahoo , Apple and QLogic .

Rumors that Osama bin Laden could be captured also boosted the market in a volatile session ahead of options expiration.

The Nasdaq lost 2 to 2109, the S&P 500 climbed 1 to 1132, and the Dow rose 15 to 10,553. Volume rose to 1.7 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.23 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a few issues on the NYSE, while advancers led 16-15 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 52% on the NYSE, and 49% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 439-3 on the NYSE, and 330-5 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Juniper , Sun , Rambus , Transmeta , Cree and Visual Networks beat estimates, while Lionbridge missed. Texas Instruments announced a new CEO.

During the day, Teradyne and Extreme Networks climbed on better than expected results.

AsiaInfo gained 8% on a contract win.

HP rose 2.4% on strong Linux sales.

And Dell fell on news that HP is back on top in global PC sales.

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