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Tech Winners & Losers: Qwest

Tech stocks rallied Friday along with the major market indices following a dip in crude oil prices and a strong showing by telecom stocks. The Nasdaq index was up more than 55 points in late trading.

Shares of Qwest (Q) rose 33 cents, or 9.6%, to $3.76. An analyst at Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight on the belief that its current valuation offered significant support for the stock. The return of cash to shareholders through an increase in dividend and the $1 billion stock buyback program should also help the company, analyst Simon Flannery said in a note.

Sprint Nextel (S) added 67 cents, or 8.6%, to $8.46 after it cancelled a convertible preferred stock offering. Sprint had said Wednesday it would sell $3 billion in cumulative perpetual preferred stock and planned to use the proceeds for debt reduction, among other things.

Among other telecom companies, Verizon (VZ) was up 71 cents, or 2.1%, to $34.41; AT&T (T) gained 57 cents, or 1.9%, to $30.88

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM) was up $5.60, or 4.4%, to $132.85. RIM offered an upbeat presentation to investors at the RBC Technology conference in San Francisco Thursday, as it launched its new BlackBerry Bold phone in Austria and Germany.

Rackspace Hosting (RAX) was down 88 cents, or 8.8%, to $10.87 on its debut in the public market. The Web hosting company had priced its stock at $12.50 a share.

Cogent Communications (CCOI) shed $3.52, or 31.4%, to $7.70 after it cut its 2008 outlook. The company said it now expects a loss of 50 cents to 60 cents a share in fiscal 2008, compared with its earlier estimate of a loss of 20 cents to 30 cents a share.

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