Stocks Rise as Sun Sets

Stocks rose Friday even as dismal economic reports continued to pile up and Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) fell to a 10-year low on another weak earnings report.

Sun fell 13% to $4.60 a share after reporting sales at the low end of expectations that were lowered just last week, and falling gross margins and a cautious outlook also weighed on the stock.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) was also left out of the rally, shedding 1% after saying the credit crisis could hurt chip demand.

Despite the tough earnings news and a drop in personal spending and Midwest manufacturing, the stock market managed to end its worst month since October 1987 with its best week since October 1974.

Helping the bullish case were McAfee (NYSE: MFE) and KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ: KLAC), both of which soared after posting better than expected quarterly results. KLA-Tencor’s sales were down 23%, but still well ahead of Wall Street estimates, benefiting shares of other chip equipment makers, including Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT), Novellus (NASDAQ: NVLS) and Lam Research (NASDAQ: LRCX).

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) slipped on reports that its advertising partnership plans with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) could be abandoned.

Powerware (NASDAQ: PWAV) and Conexant (NASDAQ: CNXT) tumbled on their results.

Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) was a big winner, up more than 6%.

The Nasdaq rose 22 to 1720, the S&P gained 14 to 968, and the Dow rose 144 to 9325. Volume rose to 6.48 billion shares on the NYSE, and declined to 2.46 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 25-9 margin on the NYSE, and 22-7 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 73% on the NYSE, and 59% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 11-99 on the NYSE, and 7-106 on the Nasdaq.

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