Chip, Telecom Stocks Dodge Downtrend

The chip and telecom sectors were among the few to end Friday in the green, as stock traders continued to be unimpressed by government financial rescue efforts.

The chip and telecom sectors were two of the very few sporting gains of more than 1% on a day that major stock indexes ended 1% lower.

Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) gained 3% on upgrades from UBS and Barclays, and AMD (NYSE: AMD) shares jumped 6%.

Strong gains in Sprint (NYSE: S) and Qwest (NYSE: Q) paced the telecom sector, and JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ: JDSU) climbed 3.5% on an RBC Capital upgrade.

BigBand Networks (NASDAQ: BBND) soared 25% after the company beat profit and sales expectations.

McAfee (NYSE: MFE) and Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) edged higher on their results, and Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) climbed 4% a week ahead of its quarterly earnings report.

The biggest earnings report next week will be HP’s (NYSE: HPQ), due out after the close on Wednesday. HP shares tacked on 1.8% today.

Palm (NASDAQ: PALM), Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) all ended lower ahead of Mobile World Congress, as RIM was hit by a Credit Suisse downgrade.

And in other news this week, Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), the cable company started by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen, said it will file for bankruptcy protection by April 1 after reaching a deal with creditors.

The broader market slumped even as Congress appeared poised to approve a $790 billion economic stimulus bill, as traders remained concerned about the effectiveness of the plan and a separate Treasury Department mortgage and bank rescue plan. Details on the foreclosure plan are expected next Wednesday.

The Nasdaq lost 7 to 1534, the S&P 500 lost 8 to 826, and the Dow fell 82 to 7850. Volume fell to 5.36 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.02 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 21-15 margin on the NYSE, and 14-13 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 70% on the NYSE, and 58% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 9-88 on the NYSE, and 10-113 on the Nasdaq.

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