Altera

(

ALTR

) pushed the Technology sector higher today making it today's featured technology winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.2%. By the end of trading, Altera rose 66 cents (2%) to $34.42 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2.5 million shares of Altera exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.4 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $33.73-$34.60 after having opened the day at $33.84 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $33.76. Other companies within the Technology sector that increased today were:

Winland Electronics

(

WEX

), up 16.4%,

Recon Technology

(

RCON

), up 15.2%,

Canadian Solar

(

CSIQ

), up 15%, and

Ambient Corporation

(

AMBT

), up 15%.

Altera Corporation, a semiconductor company, designs, manufactures, and markets programmable logic devices (PLD), HardCopy application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) devices, pre-defined design building blocks, and associated development tools. Altera has a market cap of $10.99 billion and is part of the

electronics

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.9, equal to the average electronics industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Altera a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and nine rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Altera as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the negative front,

Hoku

(

HOKU

), down 18.2%,

VimpelCom

(

VIP

), down 16.3%,

LDK Solar Company

(

LDK

), down 13.5%, and

Mentor Graphics Corporation

(

MENT

), down 13.2%, were all losers within the technology sector with

Nuance Communications

(

NUAN

) being today's technology sector loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the technology sector could consider

Technology Select Sector SPDR

(

XLK

) while those bearish on the technology sector could consider

ProShares Ultra Short Technology

(

REW

).

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