Micron Gives Techs A Boost

Much better than expected results from memory chip maker Micron Technology helped the Nasdaq end the third quarter on a high note Friday.

Micron jumped 9% after posting a surprise quarterly profit, sending the chip sector to a 2% gain on the day. Micron reported strong sales across its DRAM, CMOS and flash memory lines, which the company attributed to strong demand for PCs and cell phones.

The broader market managed a gain despite news that consumer spending and sentiment continued to fall in the wake of the one-two punch from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The Nasdaq rose 10 to 2151, the S&P added 1 to 1228, and the Dow climbed 16 to 10,568. It was the first monthly gain in September for the Dow since 1998. Volume declined to 2.07 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.66 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 20-12 on the NYSE, and 18-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 66% on the NYSE, and 71% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 211-53 on the NYSE, and 130-58 on the Nasdaq.

VeriSign climbed 3.4% after lowering sales guidance but maintaining its earnings forecast.

SafeNet soared 22% on a $150 million Department of Defense contract.

Merix and Lawson rose on their results.

Hi/Fn lost 4% after the company lowered guidance.

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