NEW YORK (AP) — Investors piled into technology stocks again to extend the market’s rally.

Hope
for more good earnings from technology leaders made the industry an
attractive bet again Thursday, a day after a strong forecast from chip
maker Intel Corp. lifted stocks across the board.

The tech-laden
Nasdaq composite index advanced for the seventh straight day and closed
at its highest level since October as traders prepared for profit
reports from Internet search company Google Inc. and International
Business Machines Corp. Both posted better-than-expected profits after
the closing bell.

What appeared to be a turn in sentiment from
economist and New York University professor Nouriel Roubini also helped
lift the market. Reports said Roubini believed the worst of the
economy’s troubles had past, but in a statement after the close of
trading he said his views are unchanged. He doesn’t expect the economy
to grow this year and still predicts the recession will end early next
year.

Traders had welcomed what had appeared to be a turn in his
sentiment because Roubini has been pessimistic about the economy and
was one of the few experts to have predicted the global financial
crisis.

Some analysts attributed the buying to short-covering,
where investors have to buy stock after having earlier sold borrowed
shares in a bet that the market would fall.

Stocks continued the
week’s sprint-and-jog play, carving more modest gains after surging the
day before. The market surged Monday followed by a flatter day Tuesday.

“There’s
still concern about the market and concern about the overall economy,”
said Jon Biele, head of capital markets at Cowen & Co. “But the
pessimism is moving to optimism. People certainly want to be in a
position to gain from positive momentum.”

The jump in stocks this
week halted a monthlong slide that came as investors worried that a
huge rally in March and April had gone too far as investors hoped for
an economic recovery. This week’s earnings reports have given investors
some of the confirmation that the economy isn’t as bad as feared, but
they still want to see more evidence of a turnaround.

The Dow
rose 95.61, or 1.1 percent, to 8,711.82, its highest close since June
12. The blue chips are now down only 0.7 percent for the year.

The
Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 8.06, or 0.9 percent, to 940.74.
The Nasdaq rose 22.13, or 1.2 percent, to 1,885.03, its best finish
since Oct. 3.

Bond prices rose, pushing yields lower. The yield
on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.58 percent from 3.62
percent late Wednesday.

Not all results were good. Nokia Corp.,
the world’s largest cell phone maker, fell $2.22, or 14.2 percent, to
$13.46 after its second-quarter earnings tumbled 66 percent and it
scrapped targets to increase market share this year.

Most results
have topped expectations. Reports are due Friday from General Electric
Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. that likely will set the
day’s tone.

“A lot of traders went into earnings with very low
expectations and they are happy the world hasn’t fallen apart and we’re
seeing solid results,” said Anthony Conroy, managing director and head
trader for BNY ConvergEx Group. “A lot of people that were short are
starting to cover because of improved earnings that have come out.”

Financial
stocks lagged the rest of the market after small-business lender CIT
Group Inc. said negotiations with federal regulators about a rescue
broke off. Investors are worried the company could file for bankruptcy
protection. CIT tumbled $1.23, or 75 percent, to 41 cents.

JPMorgan
Chase & Co. reported big gains in its investment banking business,
held back somewhat by loan losses. Its results come two days after
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also topped expectations with much stronger
results in underwriting and trading. JPMorgan slipped 13 cents to
$36.13.

Strong earnings from the banks have encouraged investors
about the economy. The results also show that many of the nation’s
biggest banks are recovering from the collapse of credit markets last
fall.

Google rose $4.43, or 1 percent, to $442.60, while IBM rose
$3.42, or 3.2 percent, to $110.64. Google lost ground in electronic
trading after reporting its results while IBM rose.

Investors
also drew encouragement from a Labor Department report that new claims
for unemployment insurance fell last week by 47,000 to 522,000, the
lowest level since early January. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters
predicted an increase to 575,000. The improved data, however, might
have been affected by the timing of automobile plant shutdowns.

In other trading, the dollar was mixed against other currencies. Gold prices fell.

Benchmark crude rose 48 cents to settle at $62.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

About
two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange,
where consolidated volume came to 5 billion shares, down from 5.5
billion Wednesday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 6.38, or 1.2 percent, to 522.02.

Overseas,
Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.6
percent, and France’s CAC-40 gained 0.9 percent. Japan’s Nikkei stock
average rose 0.8 percent.


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