Tech enthusiasm lifts Nasdaq

NEW YORK Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:51pm EDT

1 of 2. In this file photo Nasdaq Chief Executive Bob Greifeld (3rd R), U.S. Ambassador to China Clark Randt (3rd L) and representatives from Chinese companies listed on Nasdaq attend the Nasdaq remote market open ceremony in Beijing April 3, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Nasdaq index rose 1 percent on Wednesday, propelled higher on enthusiasm about the outlook for technology profits after strong results from bellwether companies Intel Corp and Yahoo Inc.

The technology sector's strong performance was not enough to fuel a rally in the broader market, though, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending little changed after the Federal Reserve sounded a note of caution on the economy.

A disappointing outlook from United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) and lackluster hardware sales from IBM (IBM.N) also weighed on the Dow and the S&P.

U.S. crude oil < CLc1> hit a record $89 at midday amid geopolitical tensions between Turkey and northern Iraq, before reversing gains to end lower for the first time in seven sessions.

"Nasdaq was really all about the good earnings news. People are really enthusiastic about Yahoo and Intel," said Giri Cherukuri, head trader at OakBrook Investments LLC, in Lisle, Illinois.

"The broader market was weighed down on concerns about economic weakness and the high oil price."

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 20.40 points, or 0.15 percent, to end at 13,892.54. But the Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was up 2.71 points, or 0.18 percent, at 1,541.24. And the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 28.76 points, or 1.04 percent, at 2,792.67.

eBAY BEATS THE STREET

The theme of strong technology earnings continued after the closing bell sounded on Wall Street.

Online auctioneer eBay Inc (EBAY.O) reported earnings that topped analysts' estimates, sending its shares up 6.7 percent to $43.30 in extended-hours trading.

During the regular session, shares of chip maker Intel (INTC.O) climbed 4.9 percent to $26.72 on the Nasdaq, while shares of Yahoo (YHOO.O), an Internet media company, jumped 8 percent to $28.82. Several brokerages raised their price targets on the two.

The U.S. Federal Reserve damped investor enthusiasm for equities after its Beige Book of anecdotal reports on regional economic conditions from the Fed's district banks showed the pace of economic expansion has slowed since August and housing markets continued to weaken.

Government data earlier showed U.S. housing starts fell in September to their lowest level in more than 14 years while building permit activity, a sign of future home construction plans, also dropped to a level not seen since mid-1993. The Dow Jones home builders index .DJUSHB fell 1.8 percent.

In other earnings news, JPMorgan Chase & Co Inc (JPM.N) reported slightly higher quarterly profit, sending its shares up 2.8 percent to $46.37 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) rose 2.3 percent to $59.09 after the company's earnings beat Wall Street's forecasts.

In contrast, shares of diversified manufacturer United Technologies dropped 3.6 percent to $76.80, while those of technology services company International Business Machines Corp slid 3.2 percent to $115.78.

Trading was thin on the NYSE, with about 1.42 billion shares changing hands, falling short of last year's estimated daily average of 1.84 billion, while on Nasdaq, about 2.41 billion shares traded, ahead of last year's daily average of 2.02 billion.

Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by a ratio of about 17 to 16 on the NYSE and by 15 to 14 on Nasdaq.

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