By Rex Crum
Bellwether tech stocks remained mixed in afternoon trading Friday, but the sector got just enough of a lift to help boost the Nasdaq Composite Index closer to possibly closing the week out on a positive note.
The Nasdaq (RIXF), which lists many leading tech stocks, rose 7.7 points to 2,182 and was on track toward finishing the week a gain of about 4%. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) and the Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (MSH) also advanced.
Google Inc. got a lift after the Internet giant said China renewed the license the company needed to keep running its Web site in that country.
Google (GOOG) rose $7.69 a share, or 1.7%, to $467.25 after the company said in a statement that China had renewed the Internet Content Provider license that allowed Google to run its website in China. Google had been directing users of its Chinese site to the Google site in Hong Kong for months after being at odds with the Chinese government over its demands that Google censor users' search results in China.
Google was also named in a patent-infringement suit filed by NTP Inc., charging it with infringing email technology patents. NTP, a privately held patent-holding company, is also suing Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Motorola Inc. (MOT), HTC Corp. and LG Electronics for patent-infringement.
NTP is best known for winning a settlement of more than $600 million from BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) for a similar patent-infringement suit in 2006.
RIM shares were on the rise, climbing $3.41, or 7%, to $52.86..
Apple shares were down 42 cents at $257.68, while Microsoft shed 19 cents a share to $24.22 and Motorola was off by 11 cents a share at $6.74.
Among other tech stocks, chip-equipment maker KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC) rose $1.07 a share, or 3.7%, to $29.77. Credit Suisse analyst Satya Kumar upgraded KLA's stock to outperform from neutral, saying that it "has more than priced in investor concerns" and KLA should have a positive earnings report.
Intel Corp. (INTC) rose 3 cents a share to $20.13 and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) shed 13 cents to trade at $7.24 ahead of those companies' earnings reports, due next week.