Stocks extend September rally after strong results from Oracle, Research in Motion

By Stephen Bernard, AP
Friday, September 17, 2010

Stocks rise on strength in technology sector

NEW YORK — New signs of strength in the technology sector drove stocks higher Friday.

Strong profits reports from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and software company Oracle are encouraging because it means companies are investing in new technology, often considered a leading indicator for an improving economy. Research in Motion also tried to quell unease surrounding ongoing disputes about data security.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 50 points in early morning trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, often used as a benchmark by professional investors, rose 0.6 percent and is approaching the high end of its recent trading range.

Oracle and Research in Motion’s results have helped restart a September rally that has lost some momentum in recent days. September is historically a poor month for stock returns, but this year so far major indexes have climbed sharply as many economic indicators have topped modest growth forecasts.

A report later Friday on consumer sentiment could provide an additional lift to stocks. As reports have indicated continued growth in recent weeks, traders have become more confident the economy will not fall back into a recession.

A preliminary reading of the University of Michigan/Reuters sentiment index likely climbed to 70 from 68.9 last month. Rising consumer confidence would bode well for the market because it could lead to a jump in retail sales, a primary driver of the economy.

The Dow jumped 50.86, or 0.5 percent, to 10,646.07 in early morning trading.

The S&P 500 rose 6.39, or 0.6 percent, to 1,131.05, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 16.33, or 0.7 percent, to 2,319.58.

Traders will be closely watching the 1,131 level on the S&P 500 because that is the high end of its recent trading range. For traders that make moves based on technical indicators breaking out above that level would indicate the market is ready to extend its rally and could trigger a rush of buying. Being unable to move significantly above could lead to a sell-off. Many automated trading platforms have buy and sell orders set around such indicators.

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