Traders Cheer Nortel, Symantec

Two long-time stock market laggards had their day in the sun on Wednesday.

Nortel and Symantec have been struggling under the weight of accounting issues and the integration of the Veritas acquisition, respectively, but both companies had Wall Street cheering their latest quarterly results.

Nortel said Wednesday morning that it expects to post first-quarter sales of $2.48 billion, 4% higher than the year-ago quarter and well ahead of analysts’ estimates. The company’s shares shot 9% higher on the news.

After the close, Symantec shares gained 6% after the company posted pro forma earnings of 24 cents a share, 4 cents better than expected. Sales rose 5% to $1.36 billion, also beating estimates. The company also raised sales guidance for the current quarter and full year.

Stocks surged during the day on stronger than expected factory orders. The S&P 500 came within a point of 1500 for the first time in 6 1/2 years before turning back.

Cablevision jumped 10% on a buyout deal.

Atmel , Interactive Intelligence , Iron Mountain , TTM and Voxware surged on their results.

Cognizant , DivX , Harris Corp. , Harris Stratex , , Ness , Sohu and Sonic Foundry fell on their earnings news.

The Nasdaq surged 26 to 2557, the S&P 500 climbed 9 to 1496, and the Dow gained 75 to 13,211. Volume declined to 3.19 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.19 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by a 24-8 margin on the NYSE, and 21-9 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 82% on the NYSE, and 81% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 235-18 on the NYSE, and 171-53 on the Nasdaq.

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