Juniper Jump-Starts Tech Stocks

Blow-out results from Juniper Networks (NASDAQ: JNPR) sent tech stocks surging on Friday even as blue chips were left behind on lingering financial worries.

Juniper shares jumped 18% after the company beat estimates and raised guidance well above expectations, an encouraging report for a sector weighed down by slowdown fears.

Rival Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) — which will report its quarterly results August 5 — gained 3%, and the Nasdaq ended the day 1.3% higher.

The rest of the market started strong after durable orders, consumer sentiment and new home sales all topped forecasts, but an S&P downgrade of Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) and auto sector woes limited gains in the afternoon.

Juniper wasn’t the only tech stock rising on better than expected results. Riverbed (NASDAQ: RVBD), Art Technology (NASDAQ: ARTG), Endwave (NASDAQ: ENWV), Avid (NASDAQ: AVID), Netflix (NASDAQ: FLIX) and Microsemi (NASDAQ: MSCC) all posted strong gains on their earnings reports.

But the sector had its share of disappointments too. Western Digital (NYSE: WDC), BMC (NYSE: BMC), Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS), InsWeb (NASDAQ: INSW), Ultratech (NASDAQ: UTEK), Lattice Semi (NASDAQ: LSCC), Travelzoo (NASDAQ: TZOO) and SiRF (NASDAQ: SIRF) all traded lower on their results.

Earnings reporting season will continue next week, with Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Corning (NYSE: GLW), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Nortel (NYSE: NT), Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) and Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) among the names set to report. Second-quarter GDP and July employment figures on Thursday and Friday will dominate the economic headlines, and GM’s (NYSE: GM) earnings on Tuesday could also be important for the broader market.

The Nasdaq rose 30 to 2310, the S&P added 5 to 1257, and the Dow rose 21 to 11,370. Volume declined to 4.51 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.05 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by an 18-14 margin on the NYSE, and 17-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 49% on the NYSE, and 68% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 29-126 on the NYSE, and 69-110 on the Nasdaq.

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