Stocks Mixed Ahead of Cisco’s Results

Tech stocks closed modestly higher a day ahead of Cisco’s (NASDAQ: CSCO) quarterly earnings report, but blue chips sagged despite a couple of blockbuster mergers.

Cisco was down a fraction ahead of its results. Analysts are looking for earnings of 31 cents a share on a 15 percent sales decline to $8.7 billion, according to Thomson Reuters, but more importantly will be Cisco’s comments about order trends.

Cisco also announced a technology partnership with EMC (NYSE: EMC) and VMware (NYSE: VMW).

Chip stocks were weak after Morgan Stanley sounded a warning about rising inventories. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) were lower on the news, and Micron (NYSE: MU) and SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) fell on a Wedbush Morgan downgrade.

AMAT will reports its earnings on Nov. 11. HP (NYSE: HPQ) will report on Nov. 23, and Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) on Nov. 19.

Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) rebounded strongly a day after a Citi downgrade on competition from Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android.

Sonic (NASDAQ: SNIC) surged on a video download partnership with Best Buy (NYSE: BBY).

Ness Technologies (NASDAQ: NSTC) fell 18 percent on its results and guidance.

The broader market closed mixed despite a merger between Stanley (NYSE: SWK) and Black and Decker (NYSE: BDK) and Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE: BRK.A) acquisition of Burlington Northern (NYSE: BNI).

After the close, STEC (NASDAQ: STEC) tumbled on its earnings report.

The Nasdaq rose 8 to 2057, the S&P 500 added 2 to 1045, and the Dow slipped 17 to 9771. Volume fell to 5.49 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.19 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 22-14 margin on the NYSE, and 16-10 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 67 percent on the NYSE, and 57 percent on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 68-49 on the NYSE, and 30-45 on the Nasdaq.

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