Investors Shake Off Jobs Report

Traders looked past a much weaker than expected jobs report in the hope that the resignation of top U.S. economic officials will get the economy back on track.

Stocks opened sharply lower on the jobs report, but then began a recovery on news of the resignations of Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and White House Economic Adviser Lawrence Lindsey.

The Nasdaq rose 11 to 1422, the S&P 500 climbed 5 to 912, and the Dow gained 22 to 8645. Volume rose to 1.25 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.54 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 19 to 12 on the NYSE, and 17 to 15 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 59% on the NYSE, and 63% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 31-15 on the NYSE, and 42-24 on the Nasdaq.

Intel slipped after raising revenue guidance to the high end of the range, but the company’s gross margin guidance came in at the low end of estimates, showing that pricing pressures remain.

Rational Software soared 26% on news that it will be acquired by IBM , which itself slipped 1% on a valuation downgrade. The acquisition is IBM’s biggest since Lotus in 1995.

Qualcomm and Oracle gained 5% each on positive outlooks.

Microsoft ended fractionally higher despite the increasing likelihood that it will lose its court battle with Sun . Sun also got a boost when Sony dumped Microsoft Office for Sun’s StarOffice.

PC stocks got a boost by an IDC report predicting strong sales in the second half of 2003. Gateway gained 5% on takeover speculation and announced an online music deal.

Hoover’s surged 31% on news that it will be acquired by D&B .

AOL was unchanged as the company braced for more layoffs.

eResearch gained 4.3% after boosting guidance.

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