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Updated from 4:12 p.m. EST

Tech stocks staged a minor preholiday rally Wednesday, boosted by a bullish analyst call on


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Dow Jones Industrial Average

finished up 27.7 points, or 0.3%, to 10,520.31, while the

S&P 500

rose 4.8 points, or 0.4%, to 1181.76. The


gained 18.3 points, or 0.9%, to 2102.54. The 10-year Treasury note was down 4/32 in price to yield 4.20%, while the dollar fell to a new all-time low against the euro and a four-and-a-half-year low against the yen.

Volume was thin again leading up to Thanksgiving. About 1.63 billion shares turned over on the Nasdaq, while 1.15 billion changed hands on the


Oil rose after being down most of the day. Nymex crude for January delivery ended floor trading up 50 cents to $49.44 a barrel. The Energy Department said distillate supplies rose for the first time in 10 weeks. Crude inventories also rose by 100,000 barrels, while gasoline stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels. December heating oil is down 58 cents at $1.44 a gallon, and December unleaded gas is down $1.43 at $1.292 a gallon.

The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods unexpectedly fell 0.4% in October, weighed down by declining automotive sales. Excluding transportation equipment, orders fell 0.7%. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said applications for first-time jobless benefits totaled 323,000 last week, about 12,000 fewer than expected.

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"The market was up today, thanks to positive economic news like the fallen unemployment claims," said Peter Cardillo, chief market analyst with S.W. Bach & Co. "There are some negative factors, like the dollar making the lows and the reversing oils late in the day. Plus, volume was rather light, and as the day draws to a close, a lot of people are heading home for the holiday."

The Commerce Department also said sales of new homes in the U.S. rose 0.2% in October. Meanwhile, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index weakened for November, slipping to 92.8 from 95.5 earlier in the month. Economists were expecting an increase to 96.0 on the index.

Among stocks, Google rose after Goldman Sachs initiated the shares with an outperform rating and set a $215 price target. The brokerage sees the paid-search market growing to $19 billion worldwide over the next five years, and said Google could see earnings growth of 25% between 2006 and 2009. The stock ended up $7.24, or 4.3%, to $174.76. Search engine



shares also were higher, rising $1.21, or 3.3%, to $37.61.

General Electric

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agreed to acquire



in a cash deal valued at $1.1 billion, plus the assumption of debt. Ionics ended up $13.53, or 45.5%, to $43.28, while GE was down 17 cents, or 0.5%, to $35.64.



said Wednesday that the


was considering a review of the company's listing if revised 2003 financial reports are not filed with the SEC by Dec. 30. The company also stated that neither the NYSE nor the Toronto Stock Exchange have any plans to suspend or delist Nortel. Shares for Nortel finished up 20 cents, or 6.3%, to $3.37.

Biogen Idec

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was higher after the Food and Drug Administration last night approved a multiple sclerosis treatment developed with



. The shares gained $1.16, or 2%, to $58.59, while Elan lost 3 cents, or 0.1%, to $27.27.



fell after receiving a nonapproval letter from the FDA for its Extina dermatitis drug. Connectics finished down $4.63, or 17.6%, to $21.72.

Overseas markets were mixed, with London's FTSE 100 recently down 0.5% to 4717 and Germany's Xetra DAX up 0.3% to 4124. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei rose 0.2% overnight to 10,872, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2% to 13,997.