Techs Join the Dow’s Party

A day after the Dow set a new all-time high, technology stocks joined in the fun, pacing the market’s best gain in two months.

Traders shook off more weak economic reports and disappointing sales at Wal-Mart to close sharply higher on optimism that the Federal Reserve can engineer a soft economic landing.

Investors will get to test that theory again Friday morning when the Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report.

The tech sector’s focus continued to be more on legal issues than anything else. HP shares gained despite news that its leak probe had turned into a criminal case, as investors remained optimistic that CEO Mark Hurd will survive the scandal.

After the close, Apple shares slipped on news that CEO Steve Jobs knew about favorable stock grants, but the company said no wrongdoing had been uncovered in its investigation.

CDC gained 5% on strong software license sales.

Lawson gained on its results, while CommScope fell on its outlook.

The Nasdaq soared 47 to 2290, the S&P 500 gained 16 to 1350, and the Dow surged 123 to 11,850. Volume rose to 2.96 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.24 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 25-7 on the NYSE, and 22-8 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 82% on the NYSE, and 80% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 255-73 on the NYSE, and 122-83 on the Nasdaq.

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