HP, Juniper Lead Tech Stocks Higher

Major stock indexes rose on Monday as investors bought shares ahead of the end of the quarter — and the start of earnings reporting period.

HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Juniper Networks (NASDAQ: JNPR) paced tech sector gains, rising about 4% each on no news.

Juniper — along with Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) — has benefited as HP and IBM (NYSE: IBM) give the companies more business in the wake of Cisco’s (NASDAQ: CSCO) move into the server market. Cisco added just 0.4% ahead of its Cisco Live event on Tuesday.

Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) managed to tack on 2% despite news that its proposed merger with Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) may face antitrust scrutiny.

But Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) lost a fraction despite news that CEO Steve Jobs is back on the job. Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) and Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) also lost ground on the day.

AMD (NYSE: AMD) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) gained more than 2% each.

Level 3 (NASDAQ: LVLT) rose 7% on an expanded customer deal with ImClone.

The Nasdaq rose 5 to 1844, the S&P 500 gained 8 to 927, and the Dow rose 90 to 8529. Volume fell to 4.21 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.04 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 23-13 margin on the NYSE, while decliners led 15-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 61% on the NYSE, and 62% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 30-49 on the NYSE, and 58-13 on the Nasdaq.

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