Microsoft Sends Stocks Surging

Solid if unspectacular results from Microsoft were all investors needed to send stocks solidly higher for a second day Friday.

Microsoft reported quarterly earnings that were in line with Wall Street estimates late Thursday, but the company’s sales came in a little light of forecasts due to Xbox manufacturing constraints. Still, with solid revenue guidance for the March quarter and the promise of a major new product cycle later this year, investors bid the software giant’s shares 5% higher in Friday trading. Also helping was another strong overseas rally and better than expected new home sales.

Traders shook off a much weaker than expected GDP report, which showed that the economy grew just 1.1% in the fourth quarter, the weakest performance since late 2002 and less than half what economists expected. Soft equipment and software spending and a decline in government spending contributed to the weakness, and an uptick in inflation was another negative in the report that traders overlooked.

The Nasdaq rose 21 to 2304, the S&P 500 climbed 10 to 1283, and the Dow gained 97 to 10,907. Volume declined to 2.62 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.33 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 21-11 on the NYSE, and 17-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 65% on the NYSE, and 64% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 438-36 on the NYSE, and 306-24 on the Nasdaq.

Broadcom soared 19% on its results. Also posting gains on their earnings reports were Foundry , Affiliated Computer , Openwave , Packeteer and Portal Player .

SanDisk , Avid and Emulex fell on their results.

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