Stocks Pause Ahead of Earnings Reports

Blue chip stocks traded down Monday ahead of the start of quarterly earnings reports, but the Nasdaq ended the day in the green after Google crossed $600 a share for the first time.

Alcoa and GE will start the quarterly reporting period for the Dow this week, but technology and Internet investors will have to wait a week for earnings reports from the likes of Yahoo, Intel, eBay, Motorola, Google and IBM.

Vonage was the day’s biggest winner, soaring 123% after settling a patent dispute with Sprint. Meanwhile, Sprint announced after the close that Chairman, CEO and President Gary Forsee is stepping down, a move that had been rumored to be in the works. CFO Paul Saleh will be acting CEO until a permanent replacement is found. Sprint also slightly lowered its financial guidance.

Apple, Research In Motion and joined Google in hitting new all-time highs, and Amazon moved a step closer to its all-time high of $113, closing at a new 52-week high of $95.85. RIM continued to ride last week’s stronger than expected earnings report.

Business Objects provided the day’s big takeover news, jumping 15% on news that it will be acquired by SAP. The news sent rival Cognos higher too. In other merger news, Spansion will acquire Saifun Semi, and Novatel also agreed to be acquired.

China Tech soared 24% on its quarterly results.

In other late news, Gateway announced plans to buy Packard Bell, the deal to be funded by Acer, which is in the process of acquiring Gateway.

The Nasdaq rose 7 to 2787, the S&P slipped 5 to 1552, and the Dow fell 22 to 14,043. Volume declined to 2.04 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.55 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 21-11 margin on the NYSE, and 16-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 29% on the NYSE, and 60% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 138-50 on the NYSE, and 191-50 on the Nasdaq.

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