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TECH STOCKS: Dell Lifts Tech Stocks, Leads S&P 500

By Benjamin Pimentel, MarketWatch SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Shares of Dell Inc and Zynga Inc posted gains Wednesday morning, giving the tech sector a lift after a wobbly start. Dell (DELL) rose more than 4% in early trades a day after the computer maker announced its first dividend plan and kicked off its analyst day. The company on Wednesday also announced that it aims to cut $2 billion in costs by the end of its fiscal year 2015, by reducing expenses in such areas as supply chain and services delivery. Dell's stock was one of the top two performers on the S&P 500 (SPX) which was down a fraction. Late Tuesday, the company announced that it will dividends of 32 cents a share per year for a 2.7% yield. Mizuho Securities analyst Abhey Lamba said the plan "will put Dell in the upper end of technology companies, we believe the company needs to convince investors of its ability to grow earnings on a consistent basis." Shares of Zynga (ZNGA) (ZILLOW.XX) also jumped 4% a day after the social gaming's stock took a hit from a Cowen & Company note warning of waning user interest in the company's games on Facebook (FB) . Three brokers put out notes with more upbeat views of Zynga's growth prospects. "We expect continued growth in monetization with a strengthening payment platform and with newer games in niche categories that could monetize better than mass-market games," Lazard Capital analyst Atul Bagga wrote. Facebook Inc's shares also bucked the downward trend, gaining about 0.5%. After a weak start, the Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) rose 6 points, or 0.2%, to 2,849. The benchmark had earlier joined the broader market in reacting to data showing a decline in U.S. retail sales and lingering worries about the European financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was up 9 points. However, shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) were in the red. H-P was down 1.2%, while Cisco slipped 0.5%, becoming two of the worst performers on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Shares of Yahoo Inc (YHOO) were down nearly 1%. The Internet giant unveiled an agreement with CNBC LLC to share business news content.

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