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Technology shares give Dow a boost

<!--StartFragment--> US STOCKS rose last night as investors returned to financial and technology shares on bets the recent rally could have more room to grow after a brief pullback.<br /><br />Volume, however, was light, a possible indication of a lack of broad conviction.<br /><br />Technology gains were led by big-cap tech and semiconductor companies after five straight days of losses for the PHLX Semiconductor index. <strong>Apple </strong>was among the top boosts on Nasdaq, rising 2.9 per cent to $122.95, while the PHLX index climbed 3.2 per cent.<br /><br />The surge in US markets over the past two months has made investors who missed the rally anxious to get back into stocks, analysts said.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had a bit of a correction over the last couple days and people may be going in there and adding a bit, which makes the gains sustainable,&rdquo; said Kurt Brunner, portfolio manager at Swarthmore Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.<br /><br />Defensive stocks such as consumer staples and healthcare also gave a lift, underscoring some of the lingering worry about the economy following a report that showed a jump in weekly jobless claims.<br /><br /><strong>Coca-Cola </strong>was among the Dow&rsquo;s biggest lifts, up 2.9 per cent at $44.90, and <strong>Merck </strong>added 1.5 per cent to $26.05.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average added 46.43 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 8,331.32. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 Index gained 9.15 points, or 1.04 per cent, to 893.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 25.02 points, or 1.50 per cent, to 1,689.21.<br /><br />The gains in financials and technolgy were striking, coming shortly after some analysts said the very same sectors would likely lead the market lower, having underpinned its run-up since March.<br /><br />Shares of semiconductor companies got a lift after Bank of America-Merrill Lynch raised its rating and price target on shares of <strong>Novellus Systems</strong> citing cost cutting and attractive valuations. <strong>Novellus</strong>, which provides equipment to the semiconductor industry, rose 7.1 per cent to $16.88.<br /><br />Financial shares gained, including <strong>JPMorgan &amp; Chase</strong>, up 4.4 per cent to $35.54. <!--EndFragment-->