Markets Rally on Sales, Profits

UPDATED: Traders hit the markets today with holiday cheer, hefty bonuses and a brighter than expected economic outlook to help boost stocks and indexes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average skirted past the 12,400 mark in a fourth quarter rally helped by strong corporate earnings. NASDAQ stocks also benefited by solid Holiday season sales and economic data that suggests the economy is more robust than recently thought.

Movers in the tech sector included AMD , which gave a fairly solid outlook during an analyst meeting today. Shares of the chip-maker were surging to $22.88 in after-hours trading after the company’s Chief Financial Officer predicted cost savings from the company’s acquisition of ATI. Although officials said they initially thought the merger with ATI would cut expenses by $75 million, they doubled that estimation to $150 million in savings.

Software tools maker Adobe  was surging to $41.92 in after-hours trading after it delivered solid profits for its fiscal fourth quarter. The company said net income rose to $181.86 million (30 cents per share) on revenues that rose by 34 percent to $682.2 million compared to revenues of $510.4 million during the same time last year.

Not counting the acquisition of Macromedia in December 2005, the company said its profit would be $196.99, or 33 cents per share.

Shares of Ciena  were up by 9 cents in after-hours trading to $27.92 after the networking company delivered $13.1 million in profit for the fourth quarter on revenues of $160 million, up by 35 percent. The results reversed a loss Ciena had delivered during the same, year-ago quarter.

Lower unemployment claims helped boost the Nasdaq to close at 2,453.85, up by 21.44 from yesterday’s close, helped in part by solid earnings reports in the banking and retail sectors. It’s also bonus time on Wall Street, and with profits coming in strong from major banking and investment banking players, traders are in a happy mood as well.

Technical analysis returns tomorrow.

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