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TECH STOCKS: Home Sales, Factory Orders Boost Markets

A pair of good reports sent the markets to a winning week.

Reports of unexpectedly strong home sales and solid factory orders put Wall Street on a high Friday. All of the major stock indexes rose sharply for the day and showed respectable growth for the week.

A government report showed new orders for costly manufactured goods shot up in June at the fastest rate in five months. Orders for durable goods climbed 2.1%, beating forecasts and fueling optimism an economic recovery is shaping up. The government also said sales of new homes reached a record pace in June.

The Dow Jones industrials led the charge, closing up 172.06 points, or 1.9%, to 9,284.57--a five-week high and a gain of 1.1% for the week. The InformationWeek 100 was up 4.32 points, or 1.7%, to 255.19, and gained 1.03% for the week. The Nasdaq gained 29.28, or 1.7%, to close at 1,730.70, a 1.3% gain for the week. The smaller Nasdaq-100 index ended the week at $31.72, up 54 cents, or 1.7%, for the day, and gained 1.3% for the week. The S&P 500 was up 17.08 points, or 1.7%, closing at 998.68, a gain of 0.5% for the week.

Also affecting tech stocks was Microsoft's announcement that it plans to invest $6.9 billion in research and development and hire up to 4,000 workers. A week ago, the company said it had improved its outlook for its 2004 fiscal year.

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