Google, Telecoms Boost Techs

Google’s long-awaited addition to the S&P 500 and merger talks between Lucent and Alcatel boosted tech shares on Friday.

Google shares jumped 7% on news that the company will finally added to the S&P 500 as of March 31. Google’s addition to the S&P 500 shows that the company has reached maturity in the eyes of analysts. The index’s imprimatur gave a boost to Google shares, which have been battered in recent months over concern about the search giant’s growth rate.

A Lucent-Alcatel deal would create a networking giant to rival $25 billion Cisco . While it is being billed as a merger of equals, Alcatel is the bigger of the two and has lately had the hotter hand. It could also be the first of many such mergers, as telecom equipment companies face a tougher climate in the face of blockbuster mergers such as AT&T and Bell South .

Blue chips edged higher despite surprisingly weak durable orders and new home sales reports. The Federal Reserve will meet once again next week to set interest rate policy.

The Nasdaq rose 12 to 2312, the S&P 500 added a to 1302, and the Dow tacked on 9 to 11,279. Volume rose to 2.33 billion shares on the NYSE, and declined to 1.93 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 19-12 on the NYSE, and 19-10 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 71% on the NYSE, and 66% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 164-23 on the NYSE, and 181-25 on the Nasdaq.

Palm slipped despite beating estimates and raising guidance.

WatchGuard jumped 16% on an upgrade.

Check Point slipped after abandoning plans to acquire SourceFire.

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