Techs Rise as Blue Chips Falter

Tech stocks rose on deal speculation Wednesday, but blue chips ended the day modestly lower on the latest trouble in the financial sector.

In deal news, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) slipped 1% on reports that it could buy Alltel for about $27 billion. And Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) gained 2.7% after the company said it is still in talks with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

A stronger than expected ADP employment report raised hopes that the government’s jobs report on Friday could come in better than expected, and strong productivity growth was another good sign for the economy. But hawkish comments from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and the threat of credit ratings downgrades for MBIA (NYSE: MBI) and Ambac (NYSE: ABK) weighed on blue chips.

AMD (NYSE: AMD) was another tech sector gainer, up 5.6% on new notebook chips.

VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) was up 5.8% on an upgrade, and Xilinx (NASDAQ: XLNX) added 3.5% on layoff plans.

Tibco (NASDAQ: TIBX) lost 7.8% after lowering guidance.

The Nasdaq rose 22 to 2502, the S&P slipped half a point to 1377, and the Dow shed 12 to 12,390. Volume was unchanged at 4.34 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.21 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by an 18-15 margin on the NYSE, while advancers led 16-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 41% on the NYSE, and 74% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 39-84 on the NYSE, and 70-140 on the Nasdaq.

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