Tech Investors Look on the Bright Side

An eBay downgrade and credit market worries couldn’t keep the tech sector down on Thursday, as the Nasdaq battled back from steep early losses to end the day with modest gains.

Subprime mortgage and credit market worries continued to hit the financial sector, with Washington Mutual, Bank of America and E*Trade all down sharply on their quarterly results.

eBay initially traded 5% higher after hours Wednesday after beating estimates, but a Deutsche Bank “sell” rating sent the stock 6% lower in Thursday’s trading session. The brokerage firm cited eBay’s plans to increase investment and lower fees in its core auction business and expressed concern that the business is deteriorating, with slowing transaction volume growth and declining purchase frequency.

After the close, Google and AMD delivered solid results. AMD edged higher after reporting better than expected sales of $1.63 billion but a larger than expected loss of 71 cents a share. Google was trading about 1% higher after beating earnings estimates by 13 cents with earnings of $3.91 a share, while sales after traffic acquisition costs of $3.01 billion topped $2.94 billion forecasts.

Nokia was a winner in Thursday’s trading session, rising 3% after reporting 28% sales growth and an 85% jump in earnings, beating estimates and calming fears about the wireless sector after a 24% plunge in Ericsson shares earlier in the week. Nokia also said it plans wireless services to compete with the likes of Apple and Research in Motion.

Logitech shares were up 23% after beating estimates and appointing a new CEO, and Fairchild Semi was another big winner, up 13% after topping sales forecasts.

SAP, Citrix, Avici, Avocent and Cavium all ended on the downside on their quarterly results.

Palm gained 7% on a Merrill Lynch valuation upgrade.

The Nasdaq rose 6 to 2799, the S&P slipped 1 to 1540, and the Dow lost 3 to 13,888. Volume declined to 3.2 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.06 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 16-15 margin on the NYSE, and 15-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 47% on the NYSE, and 59% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 121-143 on the NYSE, and 104-140 on the Nasdaq.

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