Stocks Soar Before Intel Lowers Guidance

Wall Street investors were in a buying mood Thursday ahead of two closely watched reports expected to give insight into the health of the economy.

The first of those, a midquarter update from Intel, did not bear good news.

Although volume was again light, the Dow saw triple-digit gains and the Nasdaq tacked on more than a full percentage point, with markets taking off in afternoon trading after oil prices eased after a sharp spike early in the day.

The Dow tacked on 121.82 points to close the session at 10,290.28, its highest level in two months. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, rose 23.02 points, or 1.25 percent to 1,873.43, its best close in a month. The S&P was also up more than a full percentage point to 1,118.31.

Intel’s Impact

The strong performance was somewhat atypical ahead of both Thursday’s midquarter outlook from Intel and Friday morning’s August jobs report from the Department of Labor.

Intel shares were up almost 1 percent on the day. But in its report, released after markets closed, the number one chipmaker lowered revenue guidance to $8.3 billion to $8.6 billion, down from $8.6 billion to $9.2 billion.

Citing weaker demand for both its PC and communications chips, Intel also said its profit margin would be weaker than forecast.

As for employment data, expectations might have been lowered by two dismal months in June and July.

Sharp Turnaround

Oil’s sharp reversal likely helped. Earlier in the day, renewed fears about oil supplies amid likely disruptions in Russia in Iraq helped drive oil prices higher again.

Prices were driven higher by reports that an Iraq pipeline was on fire after an explosion and word from Russia’s Yukos that it may have to curb output if forced to pay an outstanding tax bill.

But most of the gains were eroded in later trading and by the time the New York Mercantile closed for the day, oil had gained just 5 cents to $44.46.

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