Intel Sends Stocks Soaring

The stock market staged its biggest rally in four months on Wednesday, thanks to blowout quarterly results from Intel (NASDAQ: INTC).

Intel jumped 7.3% and rival AMD (NYSE: AMD) gained more than 8% on a day that saw the entire chip sector rise 5%. The Nasdaq was up 3.5%, as Intel’s results delivered the first solid hint of economic recovery for the tech sector.

But some analysts cautioned that it will take time to determine if demand is beginning to return, or if Intel merely benefited from inventory restocking. Intel said that consumer demand was strong in the quarter, but that businesses remain cautious.

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), Juniper (NASDAQ: JNPR), Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT), HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) were other standouts.

Thursday will be another test for the market, with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) set to report their results. Nokia will report its earnings in the morning, and Google and IBM after the close.

Meanwhile, two reports showed that manufacturing remains in recession, although not as bad as feared, and the Federal Reserve lifted its economic forecast.

The Nasdaq soared 63 to 1862, the S&P 500 surged 26 to 932, and the Dow soared 256 to 8616. Volume rose to 5.54 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.57 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 33-4 margin on the NYSE, and 22-4 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 96% on the NYSE, and 93% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 49-57 on the NYSE, and 38-13 on the Nasdaq.

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