Intel, STEC Lead Tech Stocks Higher

Tech stocks started the third quarter with modest gains, boosted by an Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) upgrade.

Intel shares rose 3% after Barclays analyst Tim Luke said he expects solid results from the chip giant when it reports second-quarter results on July 14. Still, the analyst remains cautious on the sector, with end-user demand uncertain for later this year.

Intel and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) also benefited from positive comments from Morgan Stanley.

STEC (NASDAQ: STEC), meanwhile, continued to add to its gains, up another 10%. The stock has gained 200% in the last year, thanks to an early lead in the market for enterprise solid state flash drives (SSDs).

Xyratex (NASDAQ: XRTX) was up 14%, adding to last week’s gains on better than expected results.

But Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) lost 2.5%, possibly on a Morgan Stanley report of strong Mac sales. But Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) ended well off its highs for the day, as did HP (NYSE: HPQ).

VMware (NYSE: VMW) was up 5.5% on no news, but Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) lost 2% each.

The broader market also posted modest gains, as traders overlooked the latest discouraging employment report in favor of better than expected manufacturing and housing reports.

The Nasdaq rose 10 to 1845, the S&P 500 gained 4 to 923, and the Dow was up 57 to 8504. Volume fell to 4.11 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.02 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 26-9 margin on the NYSE, and 18-8 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 64% on the NYSE, and 68% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 34-46 on the NYSE, and 40-16 on the Nasdaq.

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