By Rex Crum
Tech stocks put in a second-straight day of gains Thursday, with Hewlett-Packard Co. in the spotlight as the tech giant claimed victory over Dell Inc. in the fight to buy 3Par Inc.
Dell (DELL) said it would not raise its final offer for 3Par, ending discussions about acquiring the data-storage technology company. Dell's statement came after H-P (HPQ) raised its bid for 3Par to $33 a share, or $2.4 billion, before the market opened.
3Par (PAR) said in a statement that Dell (DELL) had increased its offer for the company to $32 a share from $27 a share, but that 3Par had determined H-P's offer to be "a superior proposal."
3Par shares rose 80 cents, or 2.5%, to close at $32.88, while H-P added 47 cents a share to end the day at $39.68. Dell rose 24 cents a share to close at $12.36.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) rose $1.84 a share to close at $252.17 a day after the company unveiled a revamped line of iPods, new features for its iTunes stores, and a new version of its Apple TV set-top box that the company believes will give it a better presence in consumers' living rooms.
Among other tech stocks, notable gains came from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (BRCD), up 41 cents a share, or almost 8%, to close at $5.60; Broadcom Corp. (BRCM), which rose $1.63 a share, or more than 5%, to $32.71, and Sycamore Networks Inc. (SCMRD), which rose $4.68 a share, or more than 21%, to $26.90.
Sycamore got a big lift after the networking-equipment company on Thursday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $520,000, or 2 cents a share, on $22.2 million in revenue. During the same period a year ago, Sycamore lost $34.9 million, or $1.23 a share, on $17.2 million in sales.
Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE), Yahoo Inc. (YHOO), Google Inc. (GOOG) and Intel Corp. (INTC) also advanced.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) rose 23 points to close at 2,200, while the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) rose 2%. The Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (MSH) climbed by 1.4%..
The tech sector rose along with the broader market following a slate of economic data released before the market opened.
The Labor Department reported that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week by 6,000 to 472,000. However, first-time claims still remained at a high level.
Also, the Labor Department said that productivity levels of American businesses fell by almost 2% in the second quarter of the year.