Apple, eBay Gain Amid Holiday Buzz


stockticker.jpgThe Nasdaq Composite Index marched ahead Thursday, extending gains from the previous session’s 1.8% rally. Rambus shares rose after the Securities and Exchange Commission ended its stock-option probe, while Apple and eBay climbed on upbeat analyst reports.

In morning trading, the Nasdaq Composite rose 13.25 points, or 0.5%, to 2679.73. Morgan Stanley’s high-tech index added 2.18 points to 628.30, and the Nasdaq 100 Index of nonfinancial stocks grew 9.19 points to 2108.50.

Chip-technology maker Rambus gained 80 cents, or 4%, to $20.63 on the Nasdaq Stock Market after the SEC ended its investigation and recommended no action be taken.

EBay advanced 55 cents to $33.90 on Nasdaq after Citi backed a “buy” rating and raised its fourth-quarter estimates. Analyst Mark Mahaney pointed to several motivating factors, including valuation, recent developments such as eBay’s re-entry into Japan, robust e-commerce trends and Skype deals with MySpace and in Europe.

Apple rose $3.35 to $188.84 on Nasdaq after Bear Stearns, reiterating an “outperform” rating, raised its 2008 price target to $249 from $243. In a research note, analyst Andrew Neff cited channel checks indicating strong Mac and iPod sales.

He added, however, that “while we’re encouraged by Apple’s evolution into a company with multiple growth engines — including our thesis that iPhone is emerging as a personal digital lifestyle device and view that video could be the next big driver — we note that Apple will need incremental products (e.g., 3G iPhone, ultra-portable Mac, other products ‘TBA’) in early ’08 to buck seasonality issues.”

Elsewhere, solar-energy company Hoku Scientific surged $2.36, or 27%, to $24.83 on Nasdaq after it signed an agreement with Merrill Lynch to borrow about $185 million for a polysilicon production plant.

Videogame retailer GameStop rose $1.26, or 2.2%, to $59.18 on the New York Stock Exchange on news that it will replace Dow Jones in the S&P 500-stock index. Dow Jones, which publishes The Wall Street Journal, is being acquired by News Corp. in a pending deal.

Finisar, a maker of fiber-optic products, gained 12 cents, or 7.5%, to $1.72 on Nasdaq after posting a narrowed fiscal second-quarter loss of $9.8 million, compared with $30.3 million a year earlier. Revenue slipped 6.9% to $100.7 million.

Nasdaq Rebounds 1.8% Wednesday

The Nasdaq Composite Index rebounded 1.8% Wednesday on strong jobs and productivity data. Intel and Apple shares climbed on upbeat analyst reports, while Novell fell after delaying its earnings report.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 46.53 points to close at 2666.36, reversing three days of losses. Morgan Stanley’s high-tech index added 13.88 points to 626.04 and the Nasdaq 100 Index of nonfinancial stocks rose 40.25 points to 2099.31.

Total volume on the Nasdaq Stock Market was 2.6 billion shares. Advancers greatly outpaced decliners, 1,969 to 971.

Intel rose 91 cents, or 3.5%, to $27.22 on the Nasdaq Stock Market after Thomas Weisel upgraded it to “overweight” from “market weight.” World-wide demand for personal computers will continue in 2008, helping the chip maker, analyst Kevin Cassidy said in a note, and Intel maintains a competitive advantage over rival Advanced Micro Devices that will keep it “fairly immune from any price wars through 2008, in our opinion.”

AMD closed at a fresh 52-week low Wednesday, giving up 34 cents, or 3.7%, to $8.91 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Novell slipped 10 cents to $6.94 on Nasdaq after it delayed its fiscal fourth-quarter results because of a Securities and Exchange Commission accounting probe. The software developer was scheduled to report earnings after Wednesday’s market close.

Shares of InterDigital surged 18%, or $3.13, to $20.13 after a federal judge confirmed a $134 million award stemming from a 2006 patent-infringement suit against Samsung Electronics.

The arbitration tribunal that handed down the $134 million judgment also set the royalty rates to be applied to Samsung sales of covered wireless products in 2006, resulting in an estimated royalty obligation of $17 million to $21 million for the first half of the year.

Comcast dropped $2.55, or 12%, to $18.18 on Nasdaq after it warned that its new subscriber additions and other key metrics will fall short of prior estimates. The cable provider blamed economic turmoil, which has affected customer spending, and increased competition for the revisions.

Online-media company gave up $1.83, or 3.1%, to $58 on Nasdaq despite lifting its fourth-quarter revenue estimate to $55.5 million to $57.5 million, compared with an earlier forecast of $53.5 million to $55.5 million. It cited strong performance from online games and advertising for the raised outlook.

Technology-consulting firm Electronic Data Systems gained 7.5%, or $1.49, to $21.38 on the NYSE after announcing a plan to buy back $1 billion worth of stock over the next year and a half. The company also revealed plans to replace its outgoing board chairman with its CEO.

Maxim Integrated Products rose $1.34, or 5.8%, to $24.51 on Nasdaq after the chip maker’s former CEO agreed to settle a backdating lawsuit. He will pay about $800,000 in fines and returned income.

Cisco Systems added 52 cents to $27.48 on Nasdaq after the networking giant announced it had appointed a new technology chief. Padmasree Warrior was formerly the CTO for Motorola.

Andrew Lavallee and Emily Flitter are writers for The Wall Street Journal’s online edition.

Compliments of The Wall Street Journal Online.


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