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TECH STOCKS: Amazon Slips, BlackBerry Surges Among Tech Stocks


By Rex Crum, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Tech stocks closed with mixed results Thursday, with Amazon.com Inc. among those slipping into the red, while troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. managed some big gains after reporting better- than-expected quarterly results.

Amazon (AMZN) fell by 2.2% to close at $327 a share a day after the company unveiled its Fire smartphone at an event in Seattle. The new device will be available July 25 and come in two models costing either $200 or $300. AT&T Inc. (T) will be the exclusive carrier of the Amazon Fire.

Analysts that follow Amazon have already begun to weigh in on the potential impact the Fire may have on just the smartphone market, but how people shop in the future, and what it means for the ongoing re-shaping of Amazon from just an online-retailing giant.

"This is yet another device by Amazon that aims to tie consumers tighter to its ecosystems and drive sales growth," said Jeffries analyst Brian Pitz, who has a buy rating and $450-a-share target price on Amazon's stock.

BlackBerry (RIMM) was one of the day's biggest gainers, with its shares climbing almost 10% to close at $9.09.

Before the market opened, BlackBerry reported a fiscal first-quarter profit of $23 million, or 4 cents a share, on revenue of $966 million. Excluding one-time items, BlackBerry would have lost 11 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast BlackBerry to lose 35 cents a share on $961.7 million in sales.

BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen, who is working a cutting costs and placing less emphasis on hardware products, told analysts that the company is close to breaking even, and possibly making a profit on its hardware devices.

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) shed 30 cents a share to close at $42.51 ahead of the software giant's quarterly results. Oracle ended up reporting earnings that fell short of Wall Street analysts forecasts.

Among other leading tech stocks, declines came from IBM Corp. (IBM), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ).

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) shed 3.5 points to close at 4,359, but the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) eked out a small gain.

More must-read tech news from MarketWatch:

Amazon looking toward Apple-like ecosystem with Fire phone

Amazon's Fire phone is born to shop

Possible Micros buy may spice up Oracle's earnings

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