Much Depends Upon Cisco, The Fed

Stocks rallied Monday on growing conviction that credit market fears have been overblown — and on hopes that Cisco Systems and the Federal Reserve will prove it on Tuesday.

Investors are hoping the Fed will acknowledge the credit market crisis in its policy statement Tuesday afternoon, and that Cisco’s quarterly results after the close will reveal a healthy tech sector. The Fed isn’t expected to change interest rates, but investors are hoping for some sign that central bankers are ready to act if the credit crisis spins out of control and begins to damage the broader economy.

Cisco is expected to post earnings of 35 cents a share on a 16.4% increase in sales to $9.29 billion, and traders will likely be looking for better than that. The company — and its stock — have been strong in recent years as it benefits from network convergence. At its Monday close of $29.50, Cisco shares sit a little more than 3% from a multi-year high.

While beaten-down financial stocks made the biggest headlines Monday, several tech stocks made big moves, with Juniper up the most on the Nasdaq most actives list and Intuit gaining from a Merrill Lynch upgrade.

F5 tumbled 13% on an acquisition.

En Point and Moldflow fell on their earnings news.

The Nasdaq rose 36 to 2547, the S&P 500 gained 34 to 1467, and the Dow soared 286 to 13,468. Volume rose to 5.22 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.83 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by a 17-15 margin on the NYSE, while decliners led 16-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 70% on the NYSE, and 64% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 38-638 on the NYSE, and 63-533 on the Nasdaq.

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