Stocks Soar Ahead of HP’s Results

Stocks soared Monday on encouraging results from home improvement retailer Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW), but the real test for the tech sector will come Tuesday night, when HP (NYSE: HPQ) reports its quarterly results.

Analysts are looking for earnings of 86 cents a share from HP on a 3% decline in sales to $27.42 billion, according to Thomson Reuters, and investors will be looking to the IT giant for signs that the brutal downturn in tech spending is beginning to ease.

HP shares gained 2% today, while the major averages surged 3% on glimmers of good news for the housing sector and upgrades of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC). Housing starts and building permits data Tuesday morning will offer another take on the state of the housing market.

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM), Palm (NASDAQ: PALM), On Semi (NASDAQ: ONN), Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) were some of the stocks topping the Nasdaq’s 3.1% advance.

Marvell gained on a Credit Suisse upgrade.

Indian stocks were strong on election results in that country that traders saw as a good sign for economic reform, with Sify (NASDAQ: SIFY), Rediff (NASDAQ: REDF) and Infosys (NASDAQ: INFY) among the gainers.

Logility (NASDAQ: LGTY) soared on a sweetened takeover offer from American Software (NASDAQ: AMSWA), while Photronic (NASDAQ: PLAB) surged on a Stifel Nicolaus upgrade and a new credit agreement. Cymer (NASDAQ: CYMI) was another benefiting from a Stifel upgrade.

Rackable Systems slipped after changing its name and stock symbol to SGI (NASDAQ: SGI).

The Nasdaq surged 52 to 1732, the S&P 500 gained 26 to 902, and the Dow rose 235 to 8504. Volume rose to 5.7 billion shares on the NYSE, and declined to 2.04 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 32-5 margin on the NYSE, and 22-5 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 93% on the NYSE, and 86% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 26-52 on the NYSE, and 31-16 on the Nasdaq.

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