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TECH STOCKS: Apple, Qualcomm Lead Strong Tech Gains

Date : 03/05/2013 @ 4:22PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Apple Inc. (MM) (AAPL)
Quote : 95.59  -2.56 (-2.61%) @ 8:10PM
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TECH STOCKS: Apple, Qualcomm Lead Strong Tech Gains

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By Dan Gallagher, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Tech stocks maintained their strong gains by Tuesday's closing bell, fueled by a broad market surge that lifted the Dow to a new high, as well as notable pickups by Apple Inc. and Qualcomm Inc.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed up more than 125 points to a new high. The top-performing tech stocks in the index -- Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) -- jumped more than 2% while Intel (INTC) , AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) were all up more than 1%. Read: U.S. stocks rally lifts Dow past intraday record.

The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) rose by 1.3% to close at 3,224 while the Morgan Stanley High-Tech Index (MSH) added 1.1% and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) jumped nearly 2%.

Apple (AAPL) , the largest tech firm by market cap that is nevertheless not included on the Dow component list, jumped more than 2.6% to close at $431.14 in a move that reversed a four-day slide for the stock that had clipped about 6% from its market value since the middle of last week.

The stock benefitted from some positive analyst commentary prior to the opening bell. Pacific Crest said its research indicates that iPhone and iPad sales are tracking in line with their estimates for the current quarter. UBS reiterated its $600 price target on the stock, citing a "reasonable" valuation at its current level.

Groupon (GRPN) got a lift of about 4% to $5.63, after CFO Jason Childs told an investment conference that the daily deals provider is not contemplating major changes to its business model following last week's ouster of CEO Andrew Mason.

Qualcomm (QCOM) shares jumped 2% to $67.97 -- putting the shares to their highest level in nearly a year. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 40% to 35 cents a share, and added a new $5 billion buyback to replace a previous $4 billion program as it held its annual shareholder meeting.

Stacy Rasgon of Bernstein Research called the dividend increase "the largest in recent memory" in an early note to clients, and added that he believes the company has "room for more given the [free cash flow] profile and cash position remaining."

Yahoo (YHOO) shares rose 1% to close at $22.95 after the company was upgraded to a buy rating by Cantor Fitzgerald.

"While we're not holding our breath for a material improvement in core Yahoo any time soon, we believe that a stabilization in the company's underlying operations, material re-valuation of Yahoo's Asian assets and a $1.5 billion active buyback are likely to continue to drive the stock higher," wrote Cantor analyst Youssef Squali in a note to clients.

Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS) , a maker of 3D printing systems, jumped more than 6% in early trades but later cooled, closing down about 1%. Needham & Co. upgraded the stock to a buy rating, following its fourth-quarter results from late Monday that included a better-than-expected forecast for the year.

Professional Diversity Network (IPDN) priced its initial public offering at $8 share, below the expected range of $10 to $12 a share. The stock was down more than 4% to close at $7.67 on the Nasdaq. The company, which operates online professional-services networks in the U.S., sold 2.63 million shares and raised about $21 million with its IPO.

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