By Rex Crum, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Tech stocks generally ended the week with an upbeat performance on Friday, as the broader market turned optimistic following comments about talks between President Obama and congressional leaders over avoiding the so-called "fiscal cliff" the U.S. faces in January.
But Dell Inc. (DELL) remained a standout decliner, as its shares fell more than 7% due to negative sentiment over the PC company's quarterly results and prospects.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) closed with a gain of 16 points, at 2,853. The Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index also closed in positive territory, but the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) ended the day with a slight loss.
Helping the gains were what was described as "constructive" talks between Obama and top Republicans and Democrats over how to avoid the set of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to kick at the start of the year.
Among tech stocks, gains came from IBM Corp. (IBM) Oracle Corp. (ORCL), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Facebook Inc. (FB) and Intel Corp. (INTC).
Videogame publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) saw its shares rise 4.7%, to close at $11.05. The company said its Activision Publishing subsidiary's "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" recorded more than $500 million in world-wide retail sales in the first 24 hours of its release.
Dell (DELL) stood out among the tech-sector's decliners, giving up 7.3%, to close at $8.86 a share, as investors reacted negatively to the company's latest earnings results, which came out after the close of trading Thursday.
Dell said that big declines in PC sales contributed to the company's earnings falling to $475 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with net income of $893 million, or 49 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.
Shaw Wu, who covers Dell for Sterne Agee, said in a research note that Dell's results show that company is suffering from "market share loss and clear cannibalization by tablets andsmartphoness" from Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG).
Other tech companies that reported quarterly results on Thursday closed with mixed results, as Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (MRVL) and Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) ended the day in the red, and Intuit Inc. (INTU) and design-software company Autodesk Inc. (ADSK) edging into positive territory.
Ruckus Wireless Inc. (RKUS) shares fell more than 18%, to close at $12.25 on the company's first day as a public company. Ruckus, which makes products for mobile carriers and businesses improve their Wi-Fi network coverage, offered 8.4 million shares at $15 a share.
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