Updated from 3:36 p.m. EDT

The tech sector made a strong showing Thursday, with the telcos again marking gains.

Research In Motion ( RIMM) shares were climbing 21% to $59.38 in post-close after the company's quarterly earnings. Nokia ( NOK) also was on fire, closing 8.8% higher at $13.18. Motorola's ( MOT) shares rose 6.9% to $4.63, and Palm rose 0.7% to $8.89.

Telecom services also were in the green. Sprint ( S) had double-digit gains for most of the day, but settled up 7.8% to $4.28. AT&T ( T) climbed 2.4% to $26.54. Verizon ( VZ) rose 4% to $32.46. And Deutsche Telecom ( DT) rose 2.1% to $12.92.

Reaching into the chip bag, Intel ( INTC) shares got a lift -- 4.5% to $15.70 -- after the semiconductor company announced it would pair up with General Electric ( GE) in a health-monitor deal. Texas Instruments ( TXN) rose 1.4% to $16.47. Advanced Micro ( AMD) rose 4.6% to $3.16.

In merger and acquisition news, IBM ( IBM) has reportedly lowered its takeover offer for Sun Microsystems ( JAVA). IBM shares closed up 3.3% to $100.82, and Sun shares rose 2.6% to $8.21.

On the losing end, Microsoft ( MSFT) ended the day down 0.1% to $19.29, and Dell ( DELL) fell 0.2% to $9.50

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