Holiday Cheer Comes To Wall Street

Wall Street got an early start on a year-end rally on Monday after Lehman Brothers raised its U.S. equity exposure.

The Nasdaq surged 37 to 1400, the S&P 500 gained 20 to 910, and the Dow rose 193 to 8627. Volume slipped to 1.24 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.41 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 23 to 9 on the NYSE, and 21 to 12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 84% on the NYSE, and 73% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 40-25 on the NYSE, and 62-47 on the Nasdaq.

IBM , up 2%, and Xilinx , up 7.3%, made major strides toward production of the first 90 nanometer chip.

BEA Systems surged 6.7% on an alliance with Sun , which lost 4.7%.

Software stocks were among the strongest performers, with gains paced by Oracle and Microsoft . Microsoft’s Internet Explorer now accounts for 95% of the browser market, according to a new study. Microsoft also unveiled new Web services tools.

The big-cap Nasdaq 100 got a decidedly more conservative look in its annual overhaul, with stocks like Applied Micro , Conexant Corporation , Integrated Device , i2 , PMC-Sierra and Vitesse dropped in favor of supermarket, advertising, health care, retail, medical supply and energy stocks.

HP rose 2% after being added to Merrill Lynch’s focus list.

Internet Security fell 5% on a downgrade.

Aether surged 28% on buyout rumors.

EMC gained 2.4% on a federal patent office deal and plans to use McData’s switches.

Nextel rose 6% on its own federal deal.

eBay , up 2.8%, will phase out its Billpoint service.

Palm , up 4%, gained a new development kit.

AMD rose 2% on news of a reorganization.

AOL , up 1%, won a legal victory against spammers and announced new executive appointments.

Terra Lycos , up 1%, overhauled the HotBot search engine.

Covad rose 8% on a plan to target small businesses.

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