Stocks Rally Ahead of Cisco’s Results

Stocks posted big gains on Tuesday, led by an upgrade of Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) a day ahead of the networking giant’s quarterly earnings report.

Cisco shares rose 2% after Stifel Nicolaus analyst Sanjiv Wadhwani said the company should meet his revenue estimate of $8.9 billion. The Thomson Reuters consensus estimate is for sales of $9 billion, down 8.5% from the year-ago quarter, and earnings of 30 cents a share.

The company’s outlook will also be an important sign of how IT spending is holding up; analysts are looking for April quarter sales of $8.75 billion and earnings of 29 cents a share.

Wednesday will also see a preview of Friday’s government jobs report when ADP releases its private sector employment report; both are expected to show another loss of 500,000 jobs. And Disney (NYSE: DIS) shares could weigh on the market on the company’s disappointing results released after the close.

A rise in pending home sales and hopes for a massive government stimulus plan also helped boost stocks on Tuesday.

But SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) was a notable laggard, plunging 23% after the company slashed guidance and said it could dilute shareholders by as much as 20% in a new equity offering.

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) tumbled 11% on another tough quarter.

Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) and HP (NYSE: HPQ), both of whom will report quarterly results later this month, were solid gainers, up more than 4% each.

eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) were other 4% movers.

The Nasdaq rose 21 to 1516, the S&P 500 rose 13 to 838, and the Dow gained 141 to 8078. Volume rose to 5.99 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.12 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 23-14 margin on the NYSE, and 15-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 61% on the NYSE, and 71% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 12-129 on the NYSE, and 12-122 on the Nasdaq.

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