Stocks came back from another steep sell-off on Thursday, ending the day with strong gains on reports that Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH) could be acquired.
At their lows for the day, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 hit their lowest levels since the July bottom, but both turned losses of 1.7% into greater than 1.3% gains by the close.
Lehman shares didn’t fare as well, ending the day 42% lower as investors feared a fire sale in a government-engineered sale of the company, but Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) shares turned a 24% loss into a 22% gain by the close.
Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM), Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) were some of the tech sector’s biggest winners, with gains of 3.4% or greater.
Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) jumped 5% after the company told a Deutsche Bank investor conference that 3G demand remains strong, according to news reports.
But Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) lost 4.8% on a Lehman downgrade on weakness in the PC graphics market.
Ticketmaster (NASDAQ: TKTM) plunged 17% after Live Nation (NYSE: LYV) won a deal with venue management firm SMG, a Ticketmaster client.
BigBand Networks (NASDAQ: BBND) soared 23% on an upgrade.
The Nasdaq rose 29 to 2258, the S&P gained 17 to 1249, and the Dow rose 164 to 11,433. Volume rose to 6.93 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.32 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 19-15 margin on the NYSE, and 15-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 61% on the NYSE, and 69% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 26-458 on the NYSE, and 31-274 on the Nasdaq.