Intel, Yahoo Lead Tech Gains

Tech stocks outpaced their blue chip counterparts Thursday on an Intel upgrade and an intensifying battle for Yahoo.

Intel and Yahoo gained 3% each to lead the Nasdaq’s 1.3% gain. The Dow and S&P were up less than 0.5%, as better than expected jobless claims were counterbalanced by weak retail sales. News of lower demand for Federal Reserve money raised hopes that the credit crunch might be improving, however.

The chip sector was up 2.3% after Bank of America predicted better than expected margins and market share gains for Intel, which reports quarterly results April 15. LSI, National Semi, Analog Devices, Semtech, PMC-Sierra and Power Integrations also benefited from Bank of America upgrades on improving fundamentals for the sector.

Emcore gained 3% on news that it will acquire Intel’s optical platform business.

Microsoft’s battle to acquire Yahoo took on new twists, with Microsoft potentially pairing up with News Corp. in its bid and Yahoo weighing a merger with AOL, according to news reports. But most analysts said Microsoft will likely prevail in its bid to acquire Yahoo. Google also edged higher after Yahoo said it is testing Google’s ad service.

IBM, Apple and Cisco also posted solid gains.

Richardson Electronics gained 15% on its results, while Super Micro lost 19% on its outlook.

GlobalStar fell 16% on a convertible offering.

The Nasdaq rose 29 to 2351, the S&P added 6 to 1360, and the Dow rose 54 to 12,581. Volume rose to 3.68 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.21 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 20-12 margin on the NYSE, and 17-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 60% on the NYSE, and 76% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 40-48 on the NYSE, and 35-116 on the Nasdaq.

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