Stocks Shake Off Slowdown Signs

Stocks reversed early losses Tuesday, shaking off dismal home sales reports and warnings from Lowe’s and Target on hopes that Federal Reserve rate cuts will help revive the economy.

Technology shares led the comeback, paced by Microsoft’s 1.7% gain on reports of strong Halo 3 sales and a pending investment in Facebook. Microsoft shares closed at $29.56.

Apple led the list of tech leaders hitting fresh all-time highs, rising 3.3% to $153.18, and Research In Motion and Google hit new highs too.

Cisco rose 1.8% to $32.44 on a home networking partnership in China.

Alcatel Lucent paced telecom gains, rising 3.7%, and Computer Sciences and Yahoo were other gainers.

EMC continued to rally in the wake of several upgrades, while E*Trade shares remained under selling pressure, shedding 5% to $11.89.

Maxim lost ground after being dropped from the S&P 500, while Expedia rose 5% on news that it will be added to the index.

EchoStar gained 6.8% on an acquisition and possible spinoff, and ValueClick continued to rise on takeover speculation.

Vonage lost 8% to $1.80 on another legal setback.

After the close, Red Hat shares jumped 4% after beating sales estimates.

The Nasdaq rose 15 to 2683, the S&P slipped half a point to 1517, and the Dow added 19 to 13,778. Volume rose to 3.15 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.92 billion shares on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 19-13 margin on the NYSE, and 16-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 42% on the NYSE, and 63% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 77-141 on the NYSE, and 85-106 on the Nasdaq.

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