By Rex Crum, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Tech stocks closed higher Wednesday, with Qualcomm Inc.'s $3.1 billion deal to buy wireless chip-technology company Atheros Communications Inc. highlighting action in the tech sector.
Speculation about a deal grew on Tuesday, leading Atheros' (ATHR) shares to rise 19% that day. Qualcomm's (QCOM) offer values Atheros at $45 a share. Qualcomm said the deal would help it expand its technologies into new businesses beyond cell phones.
Qualcomm shares rose $1.06, or 2%, to $52.03 after the deal was announced.
Other gains came from Apple Inc. (AAPL), Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), Google Inc. (GOOG) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ)
Autodesk Inc. (ADSK) rose $2.72, or more than 7%, to close at $41.24 after Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the design-software company to buy.
ARM Holdings PLC (ARMHY) rose 79 cents a share, or almost 4%, to $21.88 after media reports said the chip maker could be a takeover target by Intel Corp. (INTC)
Expedia Inc. (EXPEV) shares rose $1.01, or 4%, to $25.43 and Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (OWW) rose 11 cents a share, or more than 2%, to close at $5.30. Parent company AMR Corp. (AMR) said it was in talks about reaching a deal to put American Airlines's fares back on those online travel sites. Expedia and Orbitz had removed American's fares due to a pricing dispute with the airline.
Priceline.com Inc. (PCLN), which isn't involved in the dispute with American, rose $24.22 a share, or almost 6%, to $433.60.
All the gains helped lift the Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) up by 21 points to close at 2,702.
Some decliners managed to emerge. Trident Microsystems Inc. (TRID) , which makes chips for digital TVs, set-top boxes and other consumer electronics, fell by 28 cents a share, or more than 14%, to $1.63. Late Tuesday, Trident cut its fourth-quarter revenue forecast due to weakness in its two main business markets.
Mattson Technology Inc. (MTSN) gave up 28 cents a share, or 11%, to fall to $2.28. The semiconductor equipment maker said late that it expects to reports a wider loss, and lower revenue than expected for its fourth quarter. Mattson said its results were being hampered by delays in shipments of tools to customers that make memory chips.