Techs Buoyed as Rally Returns

Tech stocks returned to the scene of the rally Tuesday, as all the major indices hit three-year highs, driven in part by positive consumer spending stats and a rise in the consumer confidence index.

After declining for at least three months, the consumer confidence index rose to 102.3, up by close to 10 points from November, according to the Conference Board, which released the data.

It helped spark a continued rally in the markets, following yesterday’s sagging end. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 78.41 to close at 10854.54, up slightly less than 1 percent. The Nasdaq index also surged 1 percent, rising 22.97 to close at 2177.19. The S&P 500 index rose 8.62, just less than a percentage point, to close at 1213.54.

In the tech sector, led the way after Bear Stearns raised its rating on the e-tailer. Shares rose more than 5 percent on the day to close at $44.63. The jump followed Monday’s rise of more than 8.5 percent after said it notched another year of record-breaking sales between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.

Microsoft was among the most active tech stocks, closing up 10 cents to $26.95. Sirius satellite slipped by 29 cents to $7.81 a day after it announced it had cleared 1 million subscribers for its satellite radio service.

Intel also ranked among the most actives, especially after Reuters reported that Paul Otellini, Intel’s president, had registered to sell about $10.4 million worth of stock (448,000 shares). Shares of Intel closed down 9 cents to $23.28.

Jupitermedia , parent company of this publication, rode the rally amid write-ups in Investors Business Daily and Motley Fool. Shares rose to $23.49 on the day, up by $2.49 from the previous day’s close.

Video rental king Blockbuster continued to roil the entertainment waters with news that it has threatened to launch a hostile bid for its rental rival Hollywood, if Hollywood pokes it in the eye by sticking with a lesser takeover bid from another buyer. For investors watching the drama, all that was missing was fresh popcorn in a battle of the video titans during an otherwise thin-volumed trading week before the New Year holiday.

The news helped boost online video player , which gained 50 cents to close at $12.10 during the regular trading session.

Call it the sequel to last week’s saga over whether Blockbuster’s cut in its monthly subscription price to about $14.99 would get pesky newcomer to blink and lower its monthly price, which averages about $19.50. So far, it hasn’t, and the market is staying tuned.

Paul Shread will return next week

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