Stocks Boosted by Nvidia, Intel

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Stocks rose Friday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq chalking up their first four-week winning streak since October, as encouraging forecasts from computer chip companies Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) and Intel Corp. (INTC) helped lure investors back into the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 113.38 points, or 1.34 percent, at 8,604.60, according to the latest available data. It was the Dow's highest finish since Jan. 16. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 13.14 points, or 1.43 percent, to 933.41. The technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index rallied 30.46 points, or 2.04 percent, to 1,520.15.

For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.36 percent, the Dow added 0.25 percent and Nasdaq advanced 1.15 percent. For the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, this marked their fourth straight week of gains for the first time since October 2002.

"The Nvidia news was pretty good on the chip makers, and there's sort of a general upward trend," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView, which oversees $1 billion. "It's a combination of still positive feelings over the end of the war and the fact that earnings season held no real disappointments."

Nvidia shares soared 33.06 percent Friday, a day after the graphics chip designer reported a smaller profit and lower revenue in its fiscal first quarter, but forecast revenue would rise sharply in the current quarter. Nvidia ended up $5.31 at $21.37, topping Nasdaq's most actives.

"When you have industry leaders saying they think there will be a slight recovery in the PC market, there's a whole domino effect with software companies and chip companies doing better," said Tim Smalls, managing director at SG Cowen Securities.

"That's the area where you have to get the market moving — through capital expenditures on the corporate side," he added. "Unless we get that, we'll drift lower."

The S&P 500 index has surged about 16 percent since mid-March on hopes the economy will improve later this year, but several reports have pointed to a tepid recovery so far.

Stocks extended gains after U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said he sees no risk of significant deflation in the United States. His remarks helped ease concerns after the Federal Reserve warned Tuesday that an "unwelcome substantial fall in inflation" could lead to economic weakness.

Intel, the No. 1 computer chip maker, ended up 71 cents, or 3.76 percent, at $19.58. Intel President Paul Otellini said he expects the semiconductor industry to recover this year, German financial daily Handelsblatt reported Friday.

Coca Cola Co. (KO) 's stock jumped 2.59 percent after investment bank Bear Stearns upgraded Coke to "outperform" from "peer perform," citing its improved long-term business model and depressed stock price. Coke shares gained $1.11 to $43.99.

Gateway Inc. (GTW) rallied 25 cents, or 8.36 percent, to $3.24. Gateway, which posted losses in nine of the past 10 quarters, said it aimed to return to profitability this year by launching new products outside its struggling personal computer business. The plan is part of a strategy to turn itself from a PC maker into a broader computing and home electronics brand, Chief Executive Ted Waitt told analysts at Gateway's annual meeting Thursday.

Among losers, ImClone Systems Inc. (IMCL) sank $1.21, or 5.81 percent, to $19.63. Imclone's auditors are insisting on a broad review of its finances, raising concern the biotechnology company will not be able to file its 2002 annual report before a May 15 stock delisting hearing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Advancers trounced decliners by a ratio of 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange and 11 to 5 on the Nasdaq. Trading was active, with about 1.31 billion shares changing hands on the Big Board, and roughly 1.55 billion shares traded on the Nasdaq.

The Russell 2000 index, a barometer of smaller company stocks, rose 5.85, or 1.4 percent, to 413.53.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average finished 1.5 percent higher Friday. In Europe, France's CAC-40 rose 1 percent, Britain's FTSE 100 gained 1 percent and Germany's DAX index increased 2.4 percent.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.