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TECH STOCKS: H-P, EBay Pace Slate Of Tech Gains

By Rex Crum, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch)--Tech stocks closed with broad gains Thursday, led by reaction to Hewlett-Packard Co.'s earnings results and a report that eBay Inc. may consider spinning off PayPal.

H-P (HPQ) shares rose 5.4% to $36.68 after the company late Wednesday reported a fiscal third-quarter profit, excluding one-time items, of 89 cents a share on $27.6 billion in sales. H-P met consensus earnings forecast and exceeded the $27.06 revenue estimate from analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Among the highlights of H-P's report was a 12% gain in PC revenue, with total units sold rising 13% from the year-ago period. (Read more about H-P and other stocks in Movers & Shakers hormel-foods-are-stocks-to-watch-thursday-2014-08-21.).

EBay (EBAY) climbed 4.7% to end the day at $55.89. A report in The Information said the company may consider spinning off its PayPal electronic-payments business as soon as early 2015. The report comes months after activist investor Carl Icahn threatened a proxy fight over several matters, including the idea of eBay spinning off 80% of PayPal in a public stock offering.

German chip maker Infineon Technologies slipped by 0.7% to close at $11.35 after it said late Wednesday that it would acquire power-management semiconductor maker International Rectifier Corp. (IRF) for $3 billion in an all-cash deal.

Gains also came from Oracle Corp. (ORCL), IBM Corp. (IBM), Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which rose 27 cents a share to close at $45.22 as analysts suggested the company make look at returning more cash to shareholders at next month's board meeting. (Read more about Microsoft's game plans in Rex On Techs microsofts-board-may-draw-up-new-game-plans-2014-08-20.).

Decliners included Inc. (CRM) and videogame retailer GameStop Corp. (GME). Both companies were scheduled to report quarterly results after the close of trading.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) rose 5 points to 4,532, while the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) edged into positive territory.

(Read more about the day's market action in Market Snapshot fed-china-given-the-brush-off-2014-08-21.).

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