Biotechs Lead Market Higher

A strong rally in biotechnology companies and better than expected durable goods orders led the market higher on Thursday.

Biotech stocks surged after an FDA panel made positive comments about a Biogen drug under review.

The ISDEX gained 2 to 124, and the Nasdaq rose 24 to 1697. The S&P 500 added 11 to 1097, and the Dow climbed 58 to 10,216. Volume rose to 1.18 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.75 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 22 to 11 on the NYSE, and 20 to 14 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Sun Microsystems slipped despite reaffirming guidance. Investors interpreted some of the company’s comments to mean that business remains tough. Emulex announced that it will trade under the symbol ELX on the NYSE beginning June 24. Novell beat estimates.

During the day, NVIDIA fell 6% despite topping estimates, while Qwest edged higher even though its debt was cut to junk status by S&P.

Credence was unchanged despite beating estimates, and priceline surged 10% after reaffirming guidance.

Internet IPO Netflix priced at 15, opened at 16.19, and closed at 16.75.

Oracle gained 6% on an upgrade.

InterTrust soared 44% on a deal with Sony.

Ciena fell 5% after missing estimates and warning.

Commerce One soared on a deal with Siemens.

Some technical comments on the market: Note: To see the charts in the text email newsletter, click on the story link at the top of the newsletter.

The Nasdaq (first chart below) closed right at the critical 1696 resistance level today. 1710 is next resistance level, and 1726 should prove to be very difficult resistance. 1660-1670 looks like a good first support level, and 1640 is critical. The S&P 500 (second chart) closed right at 1098-1100 resistance. Above that, the index could have room to run. 1088-1091 is first support, then 1080 and 1074. The Dow (third chart) held its 20-day moving average again today at 10,079. 10,150 continues to be an important level on the index, and 10,220-10,250 is tough resistance.



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