Merger Mania Lifts IT Services Stocks

Stocks soared Monday after the second IT services merger in a week had investors searching for the next takeover candidate.

Unisys (NYSE: UIS), Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and Computer Sciences (NYSE: CSC) were among the beneficiaries after Xerox (NYSE: X) announced the acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services (NYSE: ACS). A Citi analyst also upgraded Accenture.

The merger deal came just a week after Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) announced plans to acquire Perot Systems (NYSE: PER), as IT companies look more and more to compete in a market dominated by IBM (NYSE: IBM) and HP (NYSE: HPQ).

Upbeat analyst comments about Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) also boosted the tech sector. The Barclays upgrade of Cisco also helped shares of Juniper (NASDAQ: JNPR) and Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD), and Juniper also benefited from positive comments from Goldman Sachs.

However, shares of Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) stayed under pressure following last week’s disappointing sales news.

Dataram (NASDAQ: DRAM) fell after a big run-up heading into a storage acceleration product announcement.

The Nasdaq jumped 39 to 2130, the S&P 500 gained 18 to 1062, and the Dow rose 124 to 9789. Volume rose to 4.8 billion shares on the NYSE, but declined to 1.91 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 29-7 margin on the NYSE, and 20-6 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 87 percent on the NYSE, and 77 percent on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 220-33 on the NYSE, and 98-12 on the Nasdaq.

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