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Stocks hold green, with upside surprises from tech

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The major indexes are holding above the unchanged level with the Dow Industrials (INDU) 8,258 (unch) trying to edge off its morning low of 8,235, while the technology laden NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 1,066 +1.09% trades its best levels of the session here with a 12-point gain as bullish responses to Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) $16.21 +15.4% and SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK) $21.32 +19% quarterly earnings reports breathes life into broader technology.

Treasuries have edged back off their highs of the session, but still find defensive buying after this morning's weekly jobless data. The 10-year June futures contract (ty03m) $114'15 +0.11% trades higher by 4/32, but off its session high of $114'210, while the benchmark bond's YIELD ($TNX.X) 3.917% falls 2.1 basis points.

Later today at 12:00 PM EST, the April Philadelphia Fed report is due out. Economists expect the index to fall to -8.0.

The manufacturing index turned higher at the turn of the year as it did a year earlier and then faded in Feb and fell into contraction in March. The weak growth of capital goods orders continues to weigh heavily on manufacturing and those sectors supplying them. The upturn, which arrived in 2002 largely reflected low inventories as new orders rolled right to production.

The forward outlook will be dependent on an upturn in business investment which may show some spark post Iraq resolution. The Philly index is especially volatile given the small region covered. The manufacturing sector moves in mini-cycles compared to the overall economy and the regional measures move in even shorter cycles with far more month-to-month volatility.

Most actives in today's session has shares of penny stock Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) $3.20 -3.46% atop the most active list (53.2 million shares) after reporting Q3 (March) earnings of breakeven, on revenues that fell 10.2% year-over-year to $2.79 billion.

Semiconductor bellwether Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) $18.27 +0.6% has reversed a morning loss and now builds on Wednesday's gains on just over 25 million shares traded.

Dow component AT&T (NYSE:T) $14.15 +3.51% sees gains after setting consecutive 52-week lows, while Nokia (NYSE:NOK) $16.10 +6% jumps to a 3-month high and make a bold move off its 200-day SMA of $14.81 after reporting that beat analysts forecast.

Sector action at this hour shows green across the board, with fractional weakness in the Utility Sector Index (UTY.X) 252.50 -0.03%.

Jeff Bailey

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