Oracle Ignites Tech Stocks

Oracle’s hostile takeover bid for BEA Systems sent the Nasdaq surging Friday and helped the market erase almost all of Thursday’s losses.

BEA shares soared 38% to $18.82 — 10% above Oracle’s offer and a sign that investors expect BEA to sell for more than Oracle’s initial offer. Also gaining on the news was Tibco Software, which jumped 13% on speculation that it could also become an acquisition target.

The news sent the Nasdaq 1.2% higher, while the broader market gained 0.5% after retail sales came in better than expected, thanks to strong auto, food, gas and electronics sales. Producer prices were mixed — higher than expected on the headline number, but lower than expected when food and energy costs were factored out.

Investors will turn their attention to earnings reports and consumer inflation data next week. Yahoo, Intel, eBay, IBM, Motorola and Google will be some of the names reporting in the tech sector.

The chip sector notched its first gain in three days after Samsung said it was boosting semiconductor capital spending by $1.2 billion. Novellus, Applied Materials and Varian Semi all posted gains of 4% or more on the news. recovered half of Thursday’s drubbing on cautious comments from JP Morgan, rising 4.6% to $322.98. China Telecom and China Digital TV were other big winners.

Apple and Google gained on upbeat analyst comments, and and Research in Motion rebounded too.

Blue Nile fell 10% on a Citigroup downgrade.

The Nasdaq rose 33 to 2805, the S&P gained 7 to 1561, and the Dow rose 77 to 14,093. Volume fell to 2.76 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.96 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 20-12 margin on the NYSE, and 18-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 62% on the NYSE, and 76% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 94-66 on the NYSE, and 103-67 on the Nasdaq.

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