Stocks ended higher for the fourth consecutive day Thursday, as investors savored Hewlett-Packard’s
strong quarterly report.
Still, it took a mid-afternoon rally to reverse a rapid downhill slide that sent all three major U.S. exchanges into the red. Stocks may face more downward pressure tomorrow as the market reacts to Dell’s
unimpressive earnings and an announced Securities and Exchange Commission probe into how the computer maker records revenue.
The Dow Jones Industrial inched up 7.8 points, or 0.07 percent, to 11,334.94, while the Nasdaq gained 8.07 points, or 0.38 percent, to 2,157.61. The S&P 500 rose 2.05 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,297.48.
As reported late Wednesday on internetnews.com, HP’s profits in the third quarter surged as new CEO Mark Hurd’s cost-cutting continues to improve the bottom line. HP showed a Q3 profit of $1.38 billion, or 48 cents a share, compared to $73 million, or 3 cents a share, in last year’s third quarter. Hurd became CEO of HP nearly 18 months ago, replacing the embattled Carly Fiorina.
Despite meeting analysts’ expectations, HP shares fell 59 cents, or 2.3 percent, to 24.76, after climbing as high as $26.30 in after-hours trading Wednesday.
Another technology company, Salesforce.com
, clearly benefited from its earnings report in Thursday’s trading, as shares soared 19 percent on strong revenue growth. The maker of business software saw its stock finish at 33.70, up 5.38, as sales blew away Street forecasts and analysts praised the company’s performance.
Shares of online auction leader eBay
surged 1.75, or 6.75 percent, after the company announced it would increase the fees it charges sellers who use its auction service. While some sellers have reacted angrily, investors seem to believe — initially, at least — that the company’s decision will help long-term revenue growth.
The three most actively traded shares in Thursday’s session were technology stocks, and all gave ground. Chipmaker Intel
slipped 9 cents, or 0.48 percent, to 18.56. Server maker Sun Microsystems
declined 10 cents, or 2.07 percent, to 4.72, while networking equipment giant Cisco Systems
lost 28 cents, or 1.33 percent, to finish at 20.85.