Mergers, Upgrades Send Stocks Soaring

A Citigroup upgrade of Dell and a couple of blockbuster mergers got the week off to a rousing start on Wall Street.

Citigroup upped its rating on Dell from “neutral” to “buy,” expressing optimism that the company’s disappointing earnings announced on Friday can be straightened out quickly by raising prices.

AMD , meanwhile, gave the struggling chip sector a boost with a $5.4 billion offer for ATI .

Philips gained 6% on reports that private equity firms are bidding for its chip division.

Silicon Labs soared 21% on its results, while BellSouth gained on its earnings report.

Strong drug sector earnings and the acquisition of HCA helped the broader market.

After the close, Texas Instruments gave the chip sector more good news with in-line results and guidance. The lack of a downside surprise from a bellwether chip company was good enough to send shares of TXN 3.5% higher in late trading. SanDisk , meanwhile, reported blow-out results.

The Nasdaq surged 41 to 2061, the S&P 500 rose 20 to 1260, and the Dow soared 182 to 11,051. Volume declined to 2.31 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.97 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 26-6 on the NYSE, and 22-7 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 88% on the NYSE, and 87% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 86-63 on the NYSE, and 57-120 on the Nasdaq.

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