Pru Likes Big Blue

Shares of IBM rose 2% Friday on positive comments from Prudential analysts.

“We continue to believe there are a number of important catalysts on the horizon for IBM which should help reinvigorate investors in the stock during the seasonally strong back half of the year,” analysts Steven Fortuna and Jeffrey Constantino wrote in a research note.

They cited IBM’s planned headcount reductions, a reorganization of the services business, a new mainframe cycle and strong server sales, among other issues.

IBM’s gain kept blue chips in the green after early gains evaporated in the wake of rising oil prices and a legal setback for Merck .

The Nasdaq lost half a point to 2135, the S&P gained fractionally to 1219, and the Dow added 4 to 10,559. Volume declined to 1.56 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.23 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-14 on the NYSE, and 15-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 52% on the NYSE, and 47% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 59-26 on the NYSE, and 40-39 on the Nasdaq.

Overland soared 26% on a big investment and possible takeover offer from ADIC .

Autodesk rose 5% after the company blew past estimates and raised guidance.

Ditech Communications fell 13% after reporting a quarterly loss, and Ultratech lost 14% on a Merrill Lynch downgrade.

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