NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The stocks of Microsoft ( MSFT), Google ( GOOG) and Intel ( INTC)gained smartly on Monday morning, helping push tech ETFs higher.

Microsoft rose 2.3% on Monday after CEO Steve Ballmer said that the company would take a "hardcore" approach to the tablet market. Google and Intel were both higher, ahead of their results announcements later this week.

The stock of Qualcomm was up sharply by 3.5% to $34.88 after Goldman Sachs reiterated its buy on the stock and added it to its conviction list. The Broadband HOLDRS ( BDH), which has a 57% exposure to Qualcomm, led the tech ETF category with a gain of 2.2%.

Semiconductor HOLDRS ( SMH) attracted interest on improving outlook for the semiconductor industry. The fund has an exposure to Sandisk ( SNDK), which rose more than 6% on Monday after UBS upgraded the stock to a buy rating.

The iShares Dow Jones Internet Technology Fund ( IYW), with many of the leading tech stocks among its top holdings, was a notable gainer within the category.

Solar and alternative energy ETFs were dragged down on Monday morning following Citi's negative outlook on Suntech Power ( STP), which declined 7.5% . Yingli Green Energy ( YGE) and Trina Solar ( TSL)were also down sharply.

Market Vectors Solar ETF ( KWT) declined 1.5% with the three Chinese solar companies figuring among its top holdings. Claymore Solar Energy ( TAN) also shed 2.5%

Selling pressure in home-builder stocks sent home-builder ETFs significantly lower. The S&P Home Builders Index ( XHB)was down1.4%, led by selling in Pulte Group ( PHM) and Toll Brothers ( TOL).

-- Reported by Shanthi Venkataraman in New York.

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