RIM, Red Hat Send Tech Stocks Soaring

Analyst upgrades of Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and better than expected quarterly results from Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) sent tech stocks surging on Thursday and the Nasdaq back into positive territory for the year.

RIM gained 5% on a Goldman Sachs upgrade a week ahead of its earnings report, and Google climbed 2.7% on positive comments from a couple of analysts.

Red Hat fared even better, soaring 17% on better than expected earnings, and Best Buy surged 12.6% after its quarterly results and outlook both topped forecasts.

The entire chip sector gained 6%, led by AMD (NYSE: AMD), Micron (NYSE: MU) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), while HP (NYSE: HPQ) gained 7%, VMware (NYSE: VMW) 6.5% and Seagate (NASDAQ: STX) 10%. The Nasdaq ended the day 3.8% higher and has now rallied 25% off its lows in less than three weeks.

Solar stocks were extremely strong on reports of interest in the technology from the Chinese government, with names like JA Solar (NASDAQ: JASO), Suntech (NYSE: STP) and Solarfun (NASDAQ: SOLF) up more than 40% each.

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) was left out of the rally on reports that the company appears more interested in product development than in a deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

A well received Treasury auction helped boost the broader market, easing fears that bond investors were starting to balk at the mountain of debt aimed at easing the financial crisis.

The Nasdaq surged 58 to 1587, the S&P 500 gained 19 to 832, and the Dow climbed 174 to 7924. Volume declined to 8.22 billion shares on the NYSE, and rose to 2.63 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 30-7 margin on the NYSE, and 22-5 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 73% on the NYSE, and 94% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 18-91 on the NYSE, and 21-26 on the Nasdaq.

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