Stocks Soar On Hopes For Peace

Stocks soared Thursday on the heels of a strong European rally and hope that war with Iraq can be delayed or avoided.

Investors ignored weak retail sales, high jobless claims and several earnings warnings to power stocks higher.

The Nasdaq soared 61 to 1340, the S&P 500 surged 27 to 831, and the Dow soared 269 to 7821. Volume rose to 1.77 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.8 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 24-9 on the NYSE, and 22-8 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 82% on the NYSE, and 92% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 40-82 on the NYSE, and 46-68 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Adobe topped estimates, but provided a broad guidance range. WebMD beat estimates and raised guidance, and Verity also beat estimates.

During the day, eBay surged 4.9% to a new 52-week high.

HP fell 3.7% on news that an accounting error overstated cash flow. HP also scored a deal with MTV.

Comverse soared 19% after beating estimates.

RSA and VeriSign each bolted more than 9% after winning a patent suit.

Microsoft , up 5.4%, could be forcing users into an all-Microsoft architecture with Office 2003.

Oracle , up 8.5%, is embracing Linux. Oracle also reports earnings next week.

Expedia surged 9.6% on a hotel room deal.

Intel , up 7.1%, faces WiFi questions after the release of Centrino.

Yahoo , up 5.5%, plans an ad blitz for its dating service.

Earthlink slipped 0.2% on the company’s voice over IP plans.

Micromuse surged 15% on an upgrade.

Cymer rose 1.4% despite warning.

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