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TECH STOCKS: Earnings Reports Lead To Tech Gains

By Rex Crum SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Big gains from the likes of Broadcom Corp., JDA Software Group Inc. and Compellent Technologies Inc. finally spurred enough of the tech sector to rally in late trading and lead the broader market to come back from its low points by the time the market closed. But it was fresh swipe by Oracle's chief executive at Hewlett-Packard Co.'s new CEO that grabbed most of the attention as the drama between the tech rivals heated up. The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) bounced back to rise almost 6 points and close at 2,503. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) rose 3%, led by gains from Broadcom on the heels of the communication chipmaker's third-quarter financial results. Broadcom shares rallied $4.34, or 11.7%, to close at $41.56 as the company's third-quarter earnings rose almost four times from a year ago. Broadcom also gave a strong fourth-quarter forecast. Compellent (CML) shares surged by $6.36, or more than 32%, to $26.06 after the data-storage technology company posted third-quarter earnings that rose 47% from a year ago. Piper Jaffray raised its rating on Compellent to overweight following the company's report. RF Micro Devices Inc. (RFMD) climbed 97 cents a share, or more than 15%, to $7.34 after the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter results late Tuesday. JDA Software (JDAS) shares rose $2.86, or 13%, to $25.01. Late Tuesday, the supply-chain management software company reported a third-quarter profit of $8.3 million, or 20 cents a share, on $158.4 million in sales, a reversal after having posted a loss in the same period a year ago. Router and wireless-networking equipment company Netgear Inc. (NTGR) saw its shares rise $3.47, or more than 12%, to $31.75 after reporting upbeat third-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Chip-equipment maker FormFactor Inc. (FORM) shares added $1.17, or 14%, to close at $9.54 following third-quarter results in which it lost 55 cents a share on $47.3 million in sales. The results were slightly better than analysts' forecasts. Silicon Image Inc. (SIMGE) shares surged $1.63, or almost 36%, to $6.18 after the chipmaker reported late Tuesday a third-quarter profit of $9.5 million, or 12 cents a share, on $60.5 million in sales. During the year-ago period, Silicon Image lost $15.5 million, or 21 cents a share. Impending courtroom drama Away from the double-digit percentage moves, it was the swipes that Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison took at the new brass at H-P (HPQ) -- CEO Leo Apotheker and Chairman Ray Lane -- that had the market talking. A trial is scheduled for Nov. 1 in a software lawsuit between Oracle (ORCL) and SAP AG (SAP),where Apotheker had served as CEO until earlier this year. The trial centers around how much SAP should pay in damages for stealing Oracle's software a few years ago. Ellison said that "a majority of this theft occurred while Mr. Apotheker was CEO of SAP," and that Oracle intends to present evidence of Apotheker's involvement when the trial begins in federal court in Oakland, Calif. In his statement, Ellison added that he expects Lane, a former company president at Oracle, to keep Apotheker "far, far away from the courthouse until this trial is over." U.S.-listed shares of SAP fell $2.81, or 5.2%, to close at $51.27, following lackluster results and outlook issued by the German company. Oracle shares rose 7 cents to $28.70, while H-P gave up 56 cents to close at $42.039. Also among the decliners was Molex Inc. (MOLX), which fell $1.73 a share, or 7.7%, to $20.82. The selling came after the maker of electronic connector products gave a weaker-than-expected forecast for the second quarter ending in December. Other declines came from Apple Inc. (AAPL), EMC Corp. (EMC), Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and Google Inc. (GOOG).

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