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Wednesday's Tech Winners & Losers

Applied Materials soars after beating analysts' estimates.

Updated from 2:34 p.m. EST with new stock prices

Tech stocks soared as the major indices moved higher in the wake of a better-than-expected retail sales report that showed consumer spending rose last month after falling in December.

Shares of

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report

jumped $1.84, or 10.2%, to $19.91, a day after the company

beat analysts' estimates for the first quarter.

The company, which sells equipment for manufacturing semiconductors, flat-panel displays and solar-energy panels, said it hopes growth in the flat-panel displays and solar energy markets will offset weakness in the chip business.

For the first quarter, revenue at Applied Materials declined 8% to $2.09 billion from a year ago but met analysts' estimates of $2 billion. Net income was $262.4 million, or 19 cents a share, vs. $403 million, or 29 cents a share, the year before. Excluding certain restructuring charges, the company earned 23 cents a share, higher than Street estimates of 19 cents a share.

Nortel Networks

(NT)

was up $1.27, or 12.3%, to $11.60 on reports that it will form a joint venture with

Motorola

(MOT)

that would combine their wireless network infrastructure divisions.

BlackBerry maker

Research In Motion

TheStreet Recommends

(RIMM)

added $5.26, or 5.8%, to $96.76 despite a service outage on Monday that left many BlackBerry users in North America without access to email.

Qwest Communications

(Q)

gained 40 cents, or 7.6%, to $5.68 after the company reported strong fourth-quarter profit.

The stock was also upgraded by a Deutsche Securities analyst to buy from hold. Qwest reported adjusted profit of $260 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with $194 million, or 10 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue was at $3.4 billion, about the same as a year ago.

Shares of

Palm

(PALM)

rose 41 cents, or 6.5%, to $6.69 on comments from company CEO Ed Colligan that sales of its recently introduced smartphone, Centro, are exceeding expectations.

Chipmaker

AMD

(AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Report

rose 29 cents, or 4.5%, to $6.70 following reports that regulators from the European Union raided rival

Intel's

(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation (INTC) Report

offices in Munich, Germany as well as the operations of some computer retailers in the country as part of an antitrust investigation of Intel.

Intel shares were not affected and were up 31 cents, or 1.5%, to $21.21.