Downgrades, Job Losses Can’t Stop Chip Stocks

Despite downgrades and the worst jobs report since December 1974, chip stocks led the stock market higher on Friday.

SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) and Micron (NYSE: MU) gained 12-13% each on American Technology Research upgrades, even as reports surfaced that Toshiba and SanDisk may cut flash memory output over the holidays.

The rest of the chip sector also rallied even though analysts cut estimates on the likes of AMD (NYSE: AMD), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM) and Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN).

Investors also bought bad news in the broader economy, sending the major indexes 3-4% higher despite news that the economy lost 533,000 jobs last month, 200,000 more than economists expected.

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM), Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) were some of the Nasdaq’s bigger gainers.

BMC (NYSE: BMC) rose 7% on plans to lay off 6% of its workforce.

Leap Wireless (NASDAQ: LEAP) soared 15% on a Goldman Sachs upgrade. The Wall Street firm said the company could gain as customers try to save money.

Versant (NASDAQ: VSNT) soared 30% on its results.

The Nasdaq soared 63 to 1509, the S&P gained 30 to 876, and the Dow surged 259 to 8635. Volume rose to 7.03 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.23 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 26-12 margin on the NYSE, and 19-8 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 85% on the NYSE, and 86% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 27-306 on the NYSE, and 2-183 on the Nasdaq.

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