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Market Update: Optimism Is the Name of the Game as Stocks Rise

Nokia takes off after roughly meeting estimates and saying it's bullish for next year. Dell's positive affirmations also stoke buying.
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(Updated from 10:32 a.m. EDT)

Stocks were finding their way back after Wednesday's pounding on Wall Street, as investors were drawn in by intermittent sunshine in corporate America.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately up about 69 points, or 0.7%, to 10,639; the

Nasdaq Composite Index was rising 51 points, or 2.5%, to 2067; and the broader-market

S&P 500 was up by 11.6 points, or 1%, to 1219.

Some better-than-anticipated earnings reports brushed the market with a brighter hue this morning, though traders remained cautious about reading too much into the bullishness. "It's all about earnings," said Todd Clark, head of listed trading at W.R. Hambrecht. "There have been wild swings moving in the direction of earnings reports in the past few days, and we're going to continue to waffle like that without any really big direction."

Nokia

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, the world's largest cell-phone maker, rang in second-quarter earnings this morning that were roughly in line with analysts' reduced estimates, on sales that rose about 5%. The shares of the Finnish firm rose overseas and helped move European markets up from their lows. Nokia lately was rising 16.2% to $19.74.

Looking ahead, Nokia projected

slightly better third-quarter earningsand said that fourth-quarter earnings should improve, though the company cited a lack of visibility in not giving a specific growth guidance.

Meanwhile, sounding upbeat this morning, PC maker

Dell

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reiterated its second-quarter forecast, although the company also said it would take a $700 million charge for job cuts and other items. Dell was lately up 3.9% to $28.27.

"Nokia's numbers were probably one of the more positive points that we've gotten," said Michael O'Hare, head of block trading at Lehman Brothers. Nevertheless, the trader said

IBM

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was a "wild card" for the market, as the hardware giant's latest results didn't paint a positive outlook.

The outlook for corporate America remains tenuous. After Wednesday's close, IBM said second-quarter earnings were

in line with expectations, but sales were softer than expected. Big Blue also said the strong dollar would continue to hurt its results. Shares of IBM were lately off 0.3% to $103.94.

Communications-chip maker

Applied Micro Circuits

(AMCC)

posted a pro forma loss of 5 cents a share, sharply off its profit last year of 11 cents a share, on a 66% decline in revenue. The company also said it would cut 5% of its workforce. The stock was gaining 5.5% to $17.93.

And

Siebel Systems

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(SEBL)

met lowered estimates with second-quarter earnings of $76.6 million, or 15 cents a share, well ahead of income of $49.1 million, or 10 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $549.7 million, compared with $397.5 million for the same period a year ago. The stock recently fell 4% to $36.16.

On Wednesday, Wall Street took a dim view of earnings reports and outlooks from

Intel

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and

Apple

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. Intel lately was rising 3.7% to $29.97, while Apple was off by 2% to $20.37.

Adding to yesterday's malaise,

Federal Reserve Chairman

Alan Greenspan blunted investors' hopes for a near-term economic recovery when he told the U.S. House Finance Committee that "considerable" economic uncertainties remain.

"The sentiment's going to revolve around what Greenspan said yesterday, as the market had the opportunity to go out and read into what he said,

as well as the chances of more rate cuts, and what's that's going to do," O'Hare said. "From a short-term perspective, people are extremely concerned. There's a lot of nervousness, and because of that people are going to adopt a defensive posture." O'Hare said he expects money to go today into defensive sectors such as drugs, oil and tobacco.

On Wednesday, the Dow lost 36.56 points, or 0.3%, to 10,569.83, while the tech-dominated Nasdaq fell 51.2 points, or 2.5%, to 2016.17. The S&P 500 index lost 6.73 points, or 0.6%, to 1207.71.

Microsoft

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,

Sun Microsystems

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and

Nortel Networks

(NT)

will post their results later today. Shares of Microsoft and Sun were lately rising, while Nortel's stock was down.

On the economic front, the latest weekly

initial jobless claims fell by 35,000 to 414,000 in the week ending July 14. Economists had expected a lesser decline to about 420,000. The previous week's numbers were revised up to 449,000 from the initial estimate of 445,000. The four-week moving average rose to 414,500 from 412,000, and continuing claims rose 76,000 to 3.11 million, the highest level since October 1992.

The market, which has been debating the timing of an economic recovery for the U.S., will also get more economic clues from July's

Philadelphia Fed Index -- a regional outlook for factory sector conditions -- due out at noon.