Markets Cap Off Strong Week

Stocks were up for the fifth consecutive day, but it didn’t come easy as the market had to overcome both disappointing news from Dell and a drop in consumer sentiment.

The Nasdaq gained 6.34 points or 0.3 percent to end a strong week of trading (up about 5 percent for the five-day period). The Dow Jones rose 43 points to 11,378. The S&P rose 5 points to close at 1,302.29. It posted a weekly gain of around 2.8 percent.

The week-ending rally came despite reports of sagging consumer sentiment in early August and yesterday’s earning report from Dell in which the computer maker reported that its second-quarter profit fell by 51 percent.

Dell shares recovered somewhat in late-day trading today, but still tumbled almost 3 percent or 64 cents. The drop ended a bad week for the computer maker. The company also disclosed that for the past year it has been under an informal probe by the SEC related to accounting and financial reporting and revenue-recognition matters. Earlier in the week it issued a recall of more than 4.1 million notebook PC batteries.

Microsoft was among technology gainers as its stock rose $1.09 on news that it will expand its stock buyback offer to $16.2 billion shares of additional stock, increasing the buyback program it announced in July to $36.2 billion.

Overall, results were mixed for Internet bellwethers eBay dropped 1.5 percent to $27.25. Google was down 0.6 percent to $383.36. However, Yahoo ended the day up 3 percent (to $29.78) and Amazon was up fractionally to $29.12.

Chipmakers AMD and Intel were both losers Friday, dropping 27 cents, or 1.12 percent, 16 cents, or .86 percent, respectively. AMD’s loss comes on the heels of Dell’s announcement Thursday that it plans to sell its first Dimension-brand desktop PC based AMD’s processors Athlon chips, starting in September. Earlier this year Dell announced that it would begin selling servers with AMD’s Opteron processors.

Cisco Systems climbed five cents, or .05 percent, to finish at 20.86, on news that the networking equipment provider agreed to pay $91.8 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed current and former officers and directors, made misleading statements, or omitted statements of material fact.

Paul Shread is on vacation. Technical analysis returns next week.

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