Stocks Rise Despite Fed Comments

Stocks added to their recent gains Tuesday despite comments by the Federal Reserve that the economic outlook remains cloudy, as traders hoped that a quick victory in Iraq will improve that outlook.

The Nasdaq climbed 8 to 1400, the S&P 500 added 3 to 866, and the Dow rose 52 to 8194. Volume declined to 1.55 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.61 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-14 on the NYSE, and 17-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 68% on the NYSE, and 69% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 49-33 on the NYSE, and 68-54 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Oracle fell 6% after coming in light on license revenues and offering a wide range of guidance. Microchip lost more than 10% on a warning.

During the day, Applied Materials gained 3.1% despite announcing 14% layoffs.

Investors were apparently in a forgiving mood, as Gateway was unchanged after warning and announcing layoffs, and Tech Data gained 5.5% on a warning.

Intersil and Proxim gained more than 4% each after resolving a patent dispute. rose 1.6% after releasing a new ROI tool.

EDS rose fractionally despite another contract problem.

Dell , off 0.4%, won a big HMO contract.

Microsoft , up 0.5%, released management software. Microsoft is also making headway into the CRM market.

Chinadotcom gained 2.7% on an acquisition.

Apple , off 0.1%, is targeting the server market.

IBM , up 1 cent, plans to bring WiFi to truck stops.

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