Sun Gets An Upgrade

Shares of Sun Microsystems surged 7% Tuesday after Merrill Lynch said it is seeing signs of a turnaround at the company.

Merrill raised fourth-quarter estimates on Sun based on positive field checks and a strong currency gain from the falling U.S. dollar.

But more importantly, Merrill said it is seeing signs that Sun’s installed customer base is beginning to upgrade for the first time in three years, a positive sign for the future.

Merrill still expects Sun to report a loss for the quarter, but it’s a start.

Sun reports fourth-quarter results Jan. 15.

Stocks were mixed Tuesday, as the market digested Monday’s strong gains.

The Nasdaq rose 10 to 2057, the S&P 500 added 1 to 1123, and the Dow lost 5 to 10,538. Volume declined to 1.5 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.28 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-15 on the NYSE, and 18-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 53% on the NYSE, and 63% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 494-4 on the NYSE, and 355-8 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, JDA Software fell on a warning.

During the day, Gateway plunged 13% on a warning.

Adtran , Varian , California Micro and ScanSource rose on positive earnings news, while Visual Networks fell 10% despite raising guidance.

eBay rose to a new all-time high after raising listing fees.

Apple slipped at the start of Macworld.

Yahoo edged higher on plans to dump Google.

Kronos plunged 12% on a warning.

And Transmeta rose 7% on new chips.

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