IBM, Google Beat The Street

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) gave the tech sector more good news late Thursday, reporting better than expected earnings, while sales were generally in line with expectations.

While not as dramatic as Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC) blowout earnings report earlier in the week, the reports from the two bellwethers offered the latest evidence that the worst economic downturn in more than 50 years has begun to ease.

Google’s earnings of $5.36 a share were 27 cents better than Wall Street analysts expected, while sales after traffic acquisition costs of $4.07 billion were up more than 4% from the year-ago quarter and just ahead of estimates. Despite the strong report, Google shares fell 2.5% in after-hours trading after a 1% gain ahead of the report.

IBM’s earnings of $2.32 a share were 30 cents above forecasts, while a 13% sales decline to $23.25 billion put the company about $340 million below revenue estimates. IBM also lifted its full-year earnings forecast, and its shares added 2% on top of a 3% gain during the day.

Stocks rose again Thursday on reports that an influential economist said the worst of the economic crisis may be over. But the economist, Nouriel Roubini, said after the close that his views were misstated and that he thinks the economy could dip back into recession after a mild recovery beginning later this year.

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) fell 14% on pricing worries and supply constraints.

Cypress (NYSE: CY) gained 6.7% on its results, and SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) jumped 9% on upbeat comments from a Lazard Capital analyst.

Polycom (NASDAQ: PLCM) was another winner, up 9% on its earnings report.

STEC (NASDAQ: STEC) gained 15% on a $120 million solid state drive (SSD) order.

The Nasdaq rose 22 to 1885, the S&P 500 gained 8 to 940, and the Dow climbed 95 to 8711. Volume declined to 5.12 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.11 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 24-12 margin on the NYSE, and 16-9 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 63% on the NYSE, and 74% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 49-54 on the NYSE, and 51-20 on the Nasdaq.

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