Market Extends Streak Into Holiday

Stocks continued their upward momentum into the Easter holiday as all major stock indexes finishing higher in Thursday’s trading.

While volume was light in the week’s final session – the U.S. stock market is closed on Good Friday – those investors who traded shares were bullish as gainers far outnumbered losers.

Both the Dow Jones and Nasdaq extended their winning streaks to six sessions. The Dow finishes up 30 points, or 0.24 percent, to 12560, while the Nasdaq rose 12.7, or 0.5 percent, to 2471. The S & P 500 ended trading up 4.4, or 0.3 percent, to 1444. For the Dow, it’s the longest string of gains so far this year, though the Nasdaq had a similar run in February.

The market remained buoyant despite news that weekly jobless claims were up slightly. In fact, that news essentially was ignored as Wall Street headlines focused on billionaire investor Kirk Kerorian’s $4.5 billion offer for DaimerChrysler’s U.S.-based Chrysler division.

Among tech stocks, the biggest gain of the day came from business sofware vendor WebMethods , whose shares skyrocketed after announcing Thursday morning that the company would be bought by Germany’s Software AG. WebMethods finished trading Thursday at 9.26, up 1.98 or 27.2 percent. Software AG is offering $9.15 per share for WebMethods.

Yahoo Inc. gained 34 cents to 31.96 after Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto upped his 2007 earnings and revenue forecasts for the Internet search and content provider. Noto also increased his share price target to $35 from $31.50.

Computer maker Dell climbed 15 cents, or 0.6 percent, to 23.51 a day after announcing its annual report would be delayed because of an ongoing internal probe into past accounting practices.

Software giant Microsoft inched up 5 cents to 28.55, while rival IBM climbed 31 cents to 96.52.

Server maker Sun Microsystems rose 7 cents, or 1.2 percent, to 5.93. Sun announced Wednesday that it would host a conference call on April 24 to discuss its third-quarter performance.

Memory chipmaker Micron fell 56 cents, or 4.6 percent, to 11.51 after reporting a net loss of $56 billion in the quarter ended March 1. The 7 cents per share loss far exceeded Wall Street estimates of a 1 cent per share loss.

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