Stocks Rally on Tech Takeover News

Stocks posted strong gains Thursday on merger news coming out of the tech sector.

Topping the news was billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s proxy fight with Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), but the day’s biggest gainer was CNET (NASDAQ: CNET), which soared 43.5% on news that it will be acquired by CBS (NYSE: CBS).

In other deals, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is buying Plaxo and InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI) grabbed Lexico Publishing.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) jumped 4.7% on a Lehman Brothers upgrade, and Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Cypress (NYSE: CY) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) also benefited from positive comments by Lehman analyst Tim Luke.

VMware (NYSE: VMW) jumped nearly 9% following its first shareholder meeting, boosting shares of parent EMC (NYSE: EMC).

Agilent (NYSE: A) and Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) surged on their results. (NASDAQ: SLRY), (NASDAQ: CTRP) and Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) lost ground on their results.

Also boosting stocks was congressional legislation that could limit speculation in oil, which briefly sent oil prices tumbling before they recovered.

The Nasdaq surged 37 to 2533, the S&P rose 14 to 1423, and the Dow gained 94 to 12,992. Volume declined to 3.8 billion shares on the NYSE, and rose to 2.22 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 23-9 margin on the NYSE, and 17-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 78% on the NYSE, and 81% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 104-69 on the NYSE, and 65-105 on the Nasdaq.

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